The data is in. The outlook is upbeat for the state of multi-family housing for the next 12 to 18 months. That’s the report from multi-family property managers and teams participating in our Bi-annual Multifamily Market Overview 1H2020. (Read the Press Release)

More than 60 percent of survey respondents said their occupancy levels for the first half the 2020 are higher or the same as they were a year ago. And they reported two additional measures of confidence: Nearly two-thirds of those who responded “higher” expect the uptick to last a year or longer, and encouragingly, 72 percent of those with down-occupancy, expect a rebound within the next six months.

Among respondents with student housing properties, the outlook feels less certain. With cancellation in college sports, “back-to-campus” outbreaks, and schools juggling between virtual and in-person teaching, 38 percent have fewer leases signed for this school year.

Across the board, the multi-family industry continues to put its best foot forward to find new ways to meet the challenges (social distancing and sanitation) and make the changes (social distancing, remote work, and exponential growth in package delivery) this pandemic has caused.

Property managers overwhelmingly (95 percent) value technology, such as keyless entry, virtual tours, automated package lockers, and smart home features. Before COVID, they were already investing (87 percent). Now, two-thirds plan to invest more.

This matches what we are seeing in our business. Prior to the virus, effective package management solutions were already transitioning from being a ‘nice to have’ amenity to simply an expectation; but now, providing a contactless package management solution has become a definitive ‘must have’ for multifamily and student housing.

We are constantly inviting feedback from our customers and from the industry—the Bi-Annual Multi-family Market Survey is just one of the way we stay on top of new ideas and best practices. Here are three tips from our collection:

  • Self-serve Maintenance: Continue to triage maintenance requests, providing do-it-yourself kits for easy repairs. For instance simply provide new water filters or light bulbs for resident refrigerators. Provide iPhone how-to videos for unclogging a garbage disposal or changing batteries in a smoke alarm.
  • Increase Recycling Centers: Adding recycling containers in your mail and package center helps provide a convenient location for residents to discard their unwanted packing materials on the spot.
  • Bundle Package Management Solutions: The increased package volume may warrant expanding your current package management solution. Secure, access-controlled package rooms are the quickest and easiest additions to your existing solution; and when paired with smart package lockers, can accept 100% of resident deliveries.

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