2017 NMHC/Kingsley Renter Preferences Report Reveals Impact of Online Reviews and Short-Term Rentals on Leasing Decisions

Landmark survey of more than 270,000 apartment renters offers local, regional, and national insights across hundreds of factors in 80 markets

A new survey of more than 270,000 current apartment residents covers everything you want to know about renters -- from why they rent and why they move to what amenities they like and what will ultimately get them to sign on the dotted line. (Graphic: Business Wire)

WASHINGTON--()--What do apartment renters really want? The 2017 National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)/Kingsley Renter Preferences Report includes responses from more than 270,000 apartment renters across the U.S. to determine what apartment features and community amenities are most desirable, how renters are finding their apartments, and their top considerations for moving.

“Since 2011, the number of residents living in all rental housing has increased by an average of nearly 1.7 million every year, according to the Census Bureau. Demand for rentals continues to grow and this report provides unprecedented insight into how apartment renters search, what they expect to pay, and what they won’t rent without,” Rick Haughey, Vice President, Industry Technology Initiatives, National Multifamily Housing Council, said. “New findings in this year’s report include data on short-term rentals and the impact of online reviews when deciding which properties to visit.”

Short-term rentals are more important to younger renters

Nearly half of respondents under the age of 25 (49 percent) are interested in the opportunity to generate additional income through short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, compared to 15 percent of renters age 65 and over. Further, 32 percent of renters age 65 and over report they would not rent in a community that offered short-term rentals.

Online reviews are making an impact

More than three-quarters of the respondents (79 percent) reported that online opinion sites influenced their current leasing decision, with many (72 percent) noting such sites stopped them from visiting a community. The report also found that renters aren’t just looking at online reviews – they’re looking at how property managers respond. More than eighty percent of respondents (82 percent) noted they expect to see a response to at least negative, if not all, online reviews.

Renters reveal their top deal breakers

It’s not just a matter of what renters want – it’s also about what they can’t live without. The 2017 NMHC/Kingsley Renter Preferences Report captured the most important features and amenities for renters as well as which items renters really can’t forego. A sizeable portion of renters noted they won’t rent without the following features or amenities. The top five apartment features renters prioritize in terms of interest are:

  • Air conditioning (94 percent interested)—92 percent of these respondents won’t lease without
  • High speed internet access (93 percent interested)—63 percent won’t lease without
  • Soundproof walls (91 percent interested)—53 percent won’t lease without
  • Washer / Dryer in unit (89 percent interested)—77 percent won’t lease without
  • Dishwasher (88 percent interested)—86 percent won’t lease without

When it comes to community amenities, apartment renters are most interested in:

  • Reliable cell reception (92 percent interested)—78 percent of these respondents won’t rent without
  • Secure resident parking (88 percent interested)—71 percent won’t rent without
  • Secure amenity access (84 percent interested)—49 percent won’t rent without
  • Swimming pool (84 percent interested)—60 percent won’t rent without
  • Fitness center (82 percent interested)—55 percent won’t rent without

Package storage is on the minds of more than half of respondents nationwide

The survey found that 57 percent of those surveyed are highly interested or interested in package lockers. Nearly half of renters surveyed (47 percent) receive at least three packages per month.

“It will take millions of new apartments in order to meet the growing demand for rental housing,” said John Falco, Principal, Kingsley Associates. “As developers work to meet these demands, understanding the needs and wants of apartment renters across the U.S. – from basic apartment and community features like flooring, countertops, pet areas, and architectural features to premium amenities such as smart thermostats, soundproof walls, and walk-in closets – is paramount.”

Research from June of 2017 estimates that the country will need 4.6 million new apartments by 2030.

About the Survey

The study includes residents from 25 industry leading multifamily firms who own and/or operate over 1.4 million apartment homes. Responses were received from 272,743 residents at 4,795 communities. While all respondents were shown demographic and interest questions, the remaining questions were divided among subsets of the total respondents, with each subset consisting in the high tens of thousands. To learn more and to purchase the report, visit: http://nmhc.org/residents.

About the National Multifamily Housing Council

Based in Washington, DC, the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) is the leadership of the trillion-dollar apartment industry. We bring together the prominent owners, managers and developers who help create thriving communities by providing apartment homes for 39 million Americans. NMHC provides a forum for insight, advocacy, and action that enables both members and the communities they help build to thrive. For more information, contact NMHC at 202-974-2300, e-mail the Council at info@nmhc.org, or visit NMHC's Web site at www.nmhc.org.

About Kingsley Associates

Since 1985, real estate leaders have turned to Kingsley Associates to maximize their portfolio and organizational performance. Our comprehensive suite of research and benchmarking tools assess firm performance and competitive position based on direct feedback from key stakeholders. Kingsley’s primary services include resident and tenant surveys, employee engagement studies, client / investor surveys, and peer benchmarking programs. In response to the need for performance-based benchmarks, Kingsley Associates developed the Kingsley IndexSM, which is now the largest and most comprehensive database of customer satisfaction metrics available to the real estate industry. To learn more, please visit our website http://kingsleyassociates.com/ or follow us on Twitter @Kingsley_Assoc.


for National Multifamily Housing Council
Danielle Cyr, 860-676-4400


for National Multifamily Housing Council
Danielle Cyr, 860-676-4400