The Lifestyle Renter

Exactly ..... What Is a Lifestyle Renter?

For many years apartment renters were seen as second class citizens with no financial ability to buy. Today that scenario is changing, and changing fast. In order to understand why, let's examine trends in America as a whole.

By the year 2000 over 76 million Americans will be over 45. The group of baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964, who coined the phrase "never trust anyone over 30" is now entering midlife.

These people:

  • have more expendable income than other groups, which allows them more freedom.
  • more freedom which allows more travel and leisure time.
  • more interest in pursuing on going education and improving their minds.
  • want and expect to be catered to.
  • have owned a house and are tired of the upkeep.
  • had rather ski on snow than shovel it.
  • had rather picnic on the grass than mow it.
  • want to invest wisely in preparation for the "golden years."
  • want to use their remaining years expanding their horizons.
  • are concerned about security for themselves and their possessions.
  • will lean toward "cocooning." Unless a fun or an important reason comes up to be out, they will stay at home more, ordering necessities, gifts and services by computer.
  • have learned that the tax and appreciation benefits of house ownership have and will continue to decline.

This renter expects an upscale apartment home with details like attached garages, limited access fencing and gates, alarm systems and highly professional service. The apartment itself will have to compete with a house in design and luxury. Upgraded carpet and appliances, crown molding, woodburning fireplaces with mantles and eat in kitchens will be the norm rather than the unusual.

So where does that leave today's apartment developer? Meeting all these desires will be expensive not only to build but to maintain. There is some good news. The segment of the market willing to pay a premium for this lifestyle is growing and experiencing a renewed interest and appreciation for renting their home.

In order to compete, many apartment owners will upgrade and add amenities to existing properties. And those who choose not to or with financial constraints needn't despair. The baby boomlet of the last 15 years will soon produce a new round of first time renters who will accept more simple apartment homes in exchange for economy.

The secret of success obviously is a continued study of the American lifestyle trends and your targeted market. In another 15 to 20 years we'll be talking and writing about housing for the fully retired consumer who still manages their investments via computer. What do you want to bet that they will want their apartment home pre-wired for all the necessary equipment for a smooth ride down the information highway?

by Anne Sadovsky
one of Multi-housing's foremost marketing and motivational speakers.

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