Las Vegas served as the backdrop for Richardson-based RealPage’s latest announcements aimed at reshaping the multifamily rental sector.
The three-day RealWorld conference at The Wynn in Las Vegas, hosted by RealPage, brings together about 1,200 multifamily rental industry experts for education, innovation, and networking. Since its founding 24 years ago, RealPage has been recognized for its contributions to real estate software and data solutions—and showcased each year since 1999 at RealWorld. This year’s annual event runs through August 8.
Attendees got a first look at what’s hot in the rental world and a new AI tool, Demandx, that could give property managers and others an edge in market intelligence.
A deep dive in rental trends
Multifamily renter’s preferences are evolving, says RealPage. Its latest survey shows that modern renters in the U.S. are driven by financial independence, the lure of metropolitan hubs, and the appeal of top-tier amenities.
Teaming up with The Center for Generational Kinetics, a global research entity, RealPage tapped into the minds of 2,000 U.S. renters, delving into their convictions about leasing, their rental horizons, what fuels their decision-making, tech essentials, and much more.
The new survey’s findings uncovered what drives modern renters’ decisions.
In a statement, Jason Dorsey of The Center of Generational Kinetics said, “Remote work and a growing need for community interaction, quality of life, and financial freedom are shifting priorities.”
Jay Parsons, chief economist for RealPage, also shed light on the findings from their research. “The research tells us that most apartment renters are happy being apartment renters,” he said.
According to the survey, most multifamily renters (66%) are satisfied with their current housing situation.
“Preferences differ across ages”
But, “renting is popular today,” according to The Center for Generational Kinetics’ Dorsey, “preferences differ across ages.”
Parsons highlighted key differences.“Older renters say they’re renting because it frees them up from home maintenance and other responsibilities,” he said. “Younger renters are renting because it gives them more flexibility.”
Parsons says apartments have a broad appeal, adding “renters of all ages tell us that apartments provide an entry into preferred neighborhoods where they couldn’t afford to buy.
They prefer the financial freedom of renting more cheaply than buying in the areas where they want to live, as well as the flexibility for remote work and trying new locations. RealPage said that of Gen Z renters, 51% feel that renting is a better option than buying.
Key trend: Seamless and instant gratification
The survey also showed that key trends and resident preferences centered on seamless and instant gratification.
Here’s a rundown of other key findings, per RealPage:
State of multifamily renting
- 73% of renters opt for areas where buying is unaffordable.
- Younger renters are most satisfied, but 66% of all renters are content in their current situation.
- Gen X enjoys freedom from home maintenance, while Gen Z values flexibility.
- 44% believe renting is financially smarter, and 48% feel it provides financial freedom.
- 87% think timely rent payments should boost credit scores.
Searching and choosing rentals
- Gen X uses tech for rental searches, while Gen Z focuses on community and on social channels.
- Gen X researches neighborhood crime rates; Gen Z looks at lease terms and pet policies.
- A quiet place and parking are essential for all age groups.
- Safety and good reviews matter to all, with more importance placed by women.
- Gen Z expects smart home features and is willing to pay more.
- 51% of renters would pay for electric doorbells and cameras.
- 56% of Gen Z would pay extra for eco-friendly features.
- 79% of renters prefer contacting property managers via direct message or chat.
Reasons for Lease Renewal
- Updates, quick repairs, flexible terms, and online signing increase renewal chances.
- Neighbor issues or slow manager responses can deter renewals.
- Older renters stay to avoid moving costs; younger ones look for upgraded amenities.
AI tool for spending smarter, leasing faster, and pricing right
In perhaps the biggest reveal of the event, RealPage unveiled Demandx, a new tool designed to provide property managers and developers with data-informed insights.
RealPage said that Demandx reinvents the way operators harness and solve for demand in the multifamily industry.
The new tool leverages AI to optimize the entire demand funnel, connecting the marketing, leasing, and pricing functions to help companies “spend smarter, lease faster, and price right,” RealPage said.
The company said the platform offers property managers the ability to outperform the market with more qualified calls and improved lead-to-lease conversions.
Amy Dreyfuss, senior vice president of revenue management at RealPage, says the company saw a “unique opportunity” to bring its AI Revenue Management, G5 Smart Digital Advertising and Knock CRM offerings into a comprehensive solution as the industry continues to centralize operations.
RealPage said that the industry traditionally managed the factors that impact demand independently — revenue management adjusts price, marketing generates leads, and sales secures leases.
This unified “dashboard experience” can help an organization make proactive decisions around all of those levers to maximize revenues and minimize future vacancies, RealPage said.
According to RealPage, Demandx can help fine-tune advertising costs to prevent future vacancies and guide leasing teams on which leads to focus on, suggesting the best next steps.
Beta testing with JVM Realty Corp.
In the beta phase for Demandx, RealPage collaborated with Illinois-based JVM Realty Corp., a multifamily real estate and property management firm, for over five months.
How did it go? According to Kadi Mancuso, vice president of sales and marketing at JVM, her company saw “remarkable operational achievements” and “bridged gaps between marketing, operations, and sales.”
Mancuso believes that Demandx can revolutionize how property management firms manage their advertising budgets and emphasizes its features. “The platform’s ability to connect across solutions promotes seamless collaboration. Its integrated dashboard meets the needs of all team levels, from site to executive,” she said.
“We’re excited about our progress in the beta phase and the promise it holds for other businesses.”
Diving deep into the multifamily ecosystem
The RealWorld conference didn’t stop at trend revelations and product announcements.
The 2023 conference offered timely sessions focusing on the multifamily rental industry’s ongoing transformations. Discussions spanned from the intricacies of technology and information security to HD supply renovations. Emphasis was also laid on back-office optimization, such as invoice processing to asset optimization, and sessions delved into the nuances of optimizing rental income in affordable housing.
The event also explored how to engage and retain residents effectively, improve reputation, and streamline operations with smart building automation.
The event’s speaker list featured thought leaders, such as Dana Jones, CEO and President of RealPage; Cassandra Worthy, creator of Change Enthusiasm; and Jay Parsons, SVP & Chief Economist at RealPage. Alongside these sessions, attendees had multiple networking opportunities, from technology-themed breakfasts to luncheons.
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