How Gen Z is shaping the future of apartment living

Here are some key factors influencing Gen Z’s home selections, and how these trends will shape the future of apartment living.

“Location, location, location” is the classic mantra that defines home searching. Many Gen Z’ers prefer to live in vibrant suburbs, and while suburban living is nothing new, today’s hybrid world makes for a more feasible transition to the less-populated and more affordable residential areas.

Deciding where to live not only depends on the specific area, but also on what’s around the prospective home. Gen Z predominantly prefers to live close to work, school, entertainment and nightlife — but is seemingly willing to embrace a short drive or public transit ride from the suburbs as “close.”

Further, the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t reduced this generation’s desire to be social and active in the community. A walkable community with easy access to entertainment, dining, shopping and a gym is another necessity among this demographic.

With so much of our lives spent inside our homes — from living and working to playing, it’s important to have a space with amenities that fit one’s lifestyle. A top priority for many Gen Z’ers is guaranteed parking, along with security and access control features. The digital generation also values dependable cellphone reception, as well as a high-speed Internet connection.

Health and fitness spaces such as pools and other indoor and outdoor workout facilities are also a priority for Gen Z’ers. These spaces are key for self-care and help save time and money on outside gym and fitness memberships.

Despite only recently entering the rental space, Gen Z is already accustomed to an upgraded lifestyle. A multifunctioning open-floor plan and high-end features like hardwood floors, walk-in closets, in-unit laundry and balconies are important features for the generation.

The next several years look promising for the single-family-home sector, especially single-family rentals, and its most prominent consumers appear to be Gen Z, who find this living choice to be their ideal home scenario.

Townhouses and garden-style communities are also popular options for this generation, mirroring their preference to live in the suburbs. Meanwhile, it seems that fewer Gen Z’ers are interested in living in a low-mid-high rise.

The next generation of renters is among us, and their preferences — influenced largely by the pandemic’s impact on daily living — will shape the future of apartment living. As rental housing continues to be a lifestyle choice for many, Gen Z’s impact will help influence the amenities, location and style of apartment communities for years to come.

Robert Pinnegar is president and CEO of the National Apartment Association in Arlington, Va.