No matter what you think of millennials as a generation, one thing is certain: A big chunk of this demographic is going to be renting apartments for their home base for the foreseeable future. For this group, coming of age during the Great Recession meant that they couldn’t even think about buying a place of their own after the crash, and — even after the recovery — 41 percent still don’t see themselves buying any time soon.
With so many millennials renting apartments, what is it that are they looking for? Here are the key features that today’s twenty-somethings want to see when shopping around for their next apartment.
Millennials are probably the first generation to care less about cars and driving than their parents do, and they’re twice as likely to use public transit systems than Gen X and Baby Boomers. This means that they prefer apartments within easy walking distance of subway stations and other transportation centers. While car-hire services like Uber and Lyft are making it even easier for millennials to live without cars, the majority still look for solid public transit access when apartment hunting. The sweet spot seems to be within a half-mile walk of a rail or bus station.
Millennials have ditched the far-flung suburbs in favor of an urban lifestyle. While city living is hugely popular with this generation, it’s not the name of the city so much as the convenience of the neighborhood that makes the difference. Millennials appreciate housing in mixed-use neighborhoods, and they expect to be able to walk to the grocery store and other retail outlets as well as independent restaurants and other entertainment venues. Millennials are also more likely to seek out apartments in more diverse neighborhoods as well.
Because colleges have upped the ante on their student life and dorm room features to keep students on campus, recent grads expect apartment complex features that their parents would never have dreamed of. Fitness centers, onsite laundry and coffee shops top the list, but other resort-style features are also highly desirable. Pools, spas, and on-site theaters are all things that new developers are adding to the package to attract millennial renters. This tech-savvy generation also appreciates Wi-Fi as part of their included utilities package.
Millennials are the generation most interested in going green — even if they aren’t likely to describe themselves as environmentalists. To this age group, an eco-friendly lifestyle is the norm, not something special. To this end, apartments that offer outdoor common areas, rooftop gardens and high-tech, green features like electric car charging stations are providing amenities that millennials will flock to.
Millennials will be looking for apartment rentals in Chicago for many years to come, and these features are the ones that they’ll have at the top of their apartment-hunting wish lists. Convenience and forward-thinking amenities are of utmost importance to millennials renting apartments.