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2020’s Impact on Multifamily Housing


It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a roller coaster ride. This year has drastically impacted businesses across industries, including all sectors of real estate. 

Though multifamily housing is no stranger to change, it is rare to see change at the accelerated rate we’ve experienced during 2020. In response to COVID-19, multifamily property managers, owners, and developers have had to adapt to social distancing, health concerns, and a demand for safer, contactless experiences.

Here’s an overview of how 2020 has changed multifamily housing and what you can do to adapt to the circumstances, retain residents, and continue signing top-dollar leases.


Once amenities, now necessities

Up until 2020, multifamily buildings set themselves apart from the competition with amenities. Once reliant on high-touch amenities — like 24/7 concierge and house cleaning services — multifamily housing eventually shifted to high-tech amenities. These amenities capitalized on technological advances and focused on adding convenience to residents’ daily lives.

Now, in 2020, residents prioritize safety over convenience. 


As COVID-19 remains a public safety threat, renters are more concerned with:

  1. How to avoid touching high-risk surfaces
  2. Who is entering their building
  3. How communal spaces are shared


Real estate professionals must step up and make an effort to adapt to residents’ shifting demands. This effort starts with adopting property technology (proptech) solutions to boost resident safety.


Using proptech to create safer buildings

Technology has the power to keep your building secure and give residents the peace of mind they deserve. Property managers, owners, and developers who overlook the potential of safety-focused proptech will soon find themselves miles behind the competition. Proptech that improves building safety can help you lease up quickly and retain residents, even amid economic uncertainty.


Examples of safety-focused proptech solutions worth implementing include:


Be strategic with the products and brands you choose. Many proptech solutions “cooperate” with each other through integrations. Create a proptech network in your building to streamline processes and create efficiencies for property staff.


How proptech improves safety

We’ve reviewed how today’s renters crave safety, and we’ve established that proptech is the best way to efficiently improve property security. But how does proptech actually improve safety?


Proptech solutions can make your property safer by improving:

  1. Building security. Residents are more concerned than ever with who is entering their building. They want to know that anyone coming onsite has been authorized to do so. Video intercoms, doorbell cameras, and surveillance cameras can monitor who is entering and exiting the building and provide an audit trail to review if an issue arises.  

  2. Communication between residents and property staff. You need a way to communicate effectively with your residents while maintaining social distancing. And residents need a way to receive information — but they prefer digital communication over written notes, phone calls, and in-person visits. Invest in a mobile app that lets you send updates to the community, message individuals directly, and share building news with all residents.

  3. Amenity space security. When COVID-19 hit, property managers were left wondering how to manage shared community amenities like gyms and conference rooms. Maintain social distancing by investing in a proptech-powered app that lets residents reserve amenity spaces and alerts residents when an amenity is available. 


Benefits of proptech for owners, managers, and developers 

Now that you know some of the many use cases for proptech, you might be wondering how that helps your bottom line. When you install proptech products, what’s in it for you?


By implementing proptech solutions, you can:

  1. Retain residents. Residents who feel safe in their homes — and who trust that property staff is working to maintain building security — are more likely to resign their leases.

  2. Protect property staff. Proptech can enable touchless entry at your apartment building, which is much safer given the pandemic. By adopting proptech, you’re creating a safer environment for building staff.

  3. Lease up quickly. New developments that incorporate proptech are more likely to lease up quickly because today’s renters seek safe and pandemic-proofed buildings.


Multifamily housing after 2020

Even once COVID-19 has been managed and resolved, health and safety concerns will remain. People will still prioritize safety — which means residents will still want the benefits of proptech in their buildings.

2020 may have disrupted multifamily housing, but savvy real estate professionals can adapt to changes and challenges with proptech.



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