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Here’s what renters are really looking for in their next apartment

Search trends reveal the things renters really care about

Surely one of the top questions for any landlord or property developer is what do renters really want in their next apartment? What matters to them? What do they care about? For the most part, answering that question is probably a guessing game.

Well, maybe not anymore.

Newly released data from RENTCafé and Yardi Matrix provides insight into what renters truly want, based on the one place they can’t really lie about – their search history.

As part of their 2018 year-end report, RENTCafé and Yardi Matrix took a look at what renters searched for on Google in the last year. And the results provide a window into what renters really care about and want in their next apartment.

Given that rents have risen pretty consistently over the last few years, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that the phrase renters search for most often is “cheap apartments.”

According to the RENTCafé report, “cheap apartments” accounted for more than 25% of the total of rental-related Google searches in 2018.

The second most popular search term is “studios,” which accounted for 23.88% of searches. That means renters are clearly focused on the cost of their rent as nearly 50% of all searches focused on cheap apartments and studios.

One-, two- and three-bedroom apartments were the next most popular search terms, in that order. Searches for one-bedroom apartments accounted for 10.48% of all searches, while two-bedroom apartment searches made up 9.46% of the total, and three-bedroom apartments were 7.5% of all searches.

The next most popular search term was “luxury,” which accounted for 7% of all searches. So, clearly there are quite a few people who still want that amenity-filled luxury apartment.

Other popular search terms include “furnished,” “loft,” “pet friendly,” “efficiency,” and “basement.”

Interestingly, the report notes that one-third of the terms people searched for in 2018 included the words “near me,” indicating that people are likely searching for an apartment from their smartphones, because their location would be visible to Google, which could then provide them with apartments in their area.

And for more evidence about what renters care about, Apartments.com also released a report this week about the features that renters will care about in 2019.

Number one on the list of amenities that renters will care about in 2019 is “outdoor community living.” According to the report, “balcony space” and “dog-friendly” are among to the top search terms on Apartments.com.

Next up on Apartments.com’s list is “indoor relaxation.” According to the report, 68% of renters search for only a one- or two-bedroom apartment on Apartments.com, which they suggest means that renters also desire both indoor and outdoor community spaces as “idea spaces for mixing and mingling with neighbors,” as well as a “great escape from the solidarity of your own home.”

Next up, Apartments.com suggests that renters will continue to care about smart home technology in their apartments. Whether it’s a smart lock, integrated home assistant, or other smart home devices, renters want them and landlords would be smart to provide them.

Another feature renters will care about is whether their apartment building is environmentally friendly. According to a recent study from the National Multifamily Housing Council (which is cited in the Apartments.com report), 75% of renters are interested in recycling options, while 65% are interested in sustainability and green initiatives.

For a more detailed look at what renters searched for in 2018, check out the graphic below, courtesy of RENTCafé. The larger the word, the more popular the search term. Click to enlarge.

Popular rental search terms 2018

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