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June 2017: Industry trends for your HOA, Multi-family, Apartment, or Rental Communities

As we wrap up June, we take a look at latest trends impacting the residential management industry. Do you manage apartments, rental properties, multi-families, or HOA communities?  Here are the trends and news that will have a strong effect on your management strategy.   Keep in touch with the latest updates so that you will be well prepared for where the residential market is headed and how you can position your community management company smartly for the future.  

  1. Renting versus Buying a Home

    Housewire reported some consumer trends from a study by TransUnion that sheds more light into the current situation of renting versus buying a home.  In the first quarter of 2017, 55% of individuals searching online for a mortgage were renters.  This is an increase of 10% from 2015.  While occupant rates have thinned out, the rental market maintains a steady growth.

    What does this mean for community managers of rental properties and multi-family units?  In order to attract renters, community managers will need to continually improve their branding and enrich living experience.  Specifically, they will need to increase the perceived and actual value of their property by maintaining a clean and sound environment, provide renters with a hassle-free method for paying their bills, and keep the renters in the loop of any issues and community events.

    What does this mean for homeowners association (HOA) managers?  As more people shift toward buying homes, communities governed by HOAs will also grow in diversity.  HOA managers will need to cultivate a community of engaged members and residents to upkeep the environment and continue making it an attractive market for prospective home buyers.   When community structure changes, the HOA board needs to ensure that its bylaws are updated and maintained.  Furthermore, they need to maintain a regulated and fair process for voting on pertinent issues.

  2. Transparency is key

    Especially relevant is that the same study by TransUnion showed that 51% of renters are more likely to rent than purchase a home if rental management firms report the former’s payments to the credit bureau.  Therefore, this research further cements that transparency is key and is a consumer demand. 

  3. Trends leading Multi-family project efforts

    Multi-family Executive (MFE) recently conducted a study on residential community projects identifying current trends impacting the development of multi-family housing.  Managers are overwhelmingly focusing their renovation efforts on updating or adding new amenities (19.2%).  In addition, they are implementing more energy efficient features into the homes (17.2%). This trend aligns with consumers searching for homes with new or upgraded features to cut costs and go green.  Managers will need to find cost-efficient ways to incorporate new trends into their home development plans and community structure.  Enhance outdoor amenities to increase usability of common-areas like playgrounds, pools, gyms, tennis courts, running trails, and parking spaces.

  4. Simplification of Online Payments

    One pain point of residents when paying their monthly bills is how to pay quickly and conveniently.  Just this month,  Paylease, one of the leading billing and payments solution firms that services the residential and HOA industry, announced that they would be integrating with Masterpass, Mastercard’s digital payment service.  Residential communities and HOAs can now offer their residents more payment options from MasterCard and affiliated networks. 

  5. Volume of Package Deliveries increases for Affordable Housing communities

    Package delivery is expected to increase in affordable housing communities along with B and C communities according to the National Apartment Association (NAA).  Amazon recently offered a discount to residents with low incomes that are residing in affordable housing.  Consumers include Electronic Benefits Card (EBT) holders and participants of Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, etc. 

    Although some operators are requesting residents to have their items shipped directly to their doors, planning for a larger volume of deliveries is essential.  In anticipation of an increase in package delivery, many affordable housing and apartment operators are planning to design extra storage facilities to hold these packages for residents until they can be picked up.

    What else should you do as an apartment or affordable housing community manager?

    • Track the volume of package deliveries on a daily and weekly basis
    • Track the amount of time it takes for a package to be picked up
    • Determine whether you have adequate space in your office or facilities and if packages can be picked up conveniently by your staff to pass on to the residents
    • Evaluate your current communications process – can you effectively notify residents of incoming packages?