By Robert Stickel, Executive Managing Director
The number of renters in Atlanta and throughout the Southeast has continued to rise, creating competition among multifamily owners as they seek to differentiate and draw renters to their properties. For example, vacancy in the third quarter in Atlanta was 4.8%, a vast improvement from vacancy of around 7% in 2013. To attract renters, there are three major trends owners are taking into account when developing or renovating properties, including placemaking, technology and design.
Marketing today’s high-end apartments has gone beyond the bricks and mortar tours. Selling a sense of experience and community has proven successful, and management companies have accomplished this through intensive outreach marketing at community events and festivals as well as open social events at the property. Grand opening parties, which can sometime be extravagant, are excellent ways of establishing a brand for a community. Given the desire for walkable locations, many management companies now sell area amenities just as much as the property’s.
In-unit tech amenities are all about connectivity. Residents want the latest Nest thermostats, Bluetooth speakers and smart lighting packages, but do not want to outfit a short-term residence on their own dime. Including these as unit features gives developers a big leg up when they open their property for leasing. Also, high-speed fiber internet is essential as an increasing number of residents work from home and stream entertainment.
Working with the architect to establish a design and site layout that is both unique and in-keeping with the nature of the location is critical. Prospective residents visit a number of apartment communities when searching for a place to live, and notice some repetitive architectural features. Standing out is key. Also, the location and flow of the amenity space is critical. Developers should be thoughtful about how residents will use the amenity space to ensure that is well-used and desirable.
Robert Stickel leads the firm’s brokerage activities on Institutional multifamily investments for the primary markets in Georgia and Tennessee, specifically Atlanta and Nashville. He and his dedicated deal team have closed more than 200 transactions totaling over 50,000 units and over $7 billion in sales volume.