Key takeaways:

  • Over 60% of new apartment buildings feature a diverse mix of lifestyle amenities.
  • Gilbert, AZ, tops the charts as the best city for rental community amenities, with CA and NV cities leading the runners up.
  • The Southwest is the place to be for renters seeking outdoor lifestyle amenities, with Gilbert and Chandler showcasing most properties with outdoor space and swimming pools combined.
  • The suburbs win the amenity wars, but Phoenix and San Antonio offer the best mix of perks among the 50 largest cities.

It’s always been about location in real estate, with amenities leading the rest of the pack of decisive factors when choosing a place to call home — in fact, having the right ones can make or break a lease. The last decade has been a race for developers to win the hearts of American renters, and community amenities were among the strongest incentives that could tip the contest in one competitor’s favor.

While having an apartment that is equipped with the right features — from dishwashers, in-unit washers and driers to smart home solutions — remains crucial, as does a reasonable price tag, renters prioritize convenience in their residential choices. Apartment buildings need to check a lot of boxes to stay on the prospects’ radar and a lot more is expected from a community than in the past, from on-site parking and fitness centers to resort-like swimming pools, business lounges and clubhouses.

In short, renters are now looking for the whole package. However, not all places are created equal, and while some cities are abuzz with high-end residential complexes that emphasize resident well-being, others offer more basic amenities to apartment renters. Where do renters have the best chances to enjoy a premier renting experience, amenity-wise? And how did new construction affect the amenity landscape?

We’ve set out to identify the best locations in the US for amenity-centric apartment communities, looking at more than 82,000 large-scale apartment buildings across the country. Digging in the Yardi Matrix database, we’ve analyzed the incidence of amenities in rental complexes with 50+ units, including outdoor space – both courtyard and rooftop decks – swimming pools and spas, fitness centers, business lounges, tennis, basketball and other sports courts, and more, and ranked the 100 largest cities from best to worst. The surprise comes from Arizona, where renters in both urban and suburban environments have easy access to an optimum mix of lifestyle amenities in their rental communities.

Amenity-rich apartment buildings reach all-time high

Not only did apartment construction intensify over the last decade but it also saw a boost in community add-ons. On-site parking and common outdoor space became the norm for all new builds, with a few notable exceptions in land-challenged cities like NYC. Additionally, more communities than ever now offer a mix of amenities that help residents stay healthy and relaxed, including reading nooks, juice bars, Pilates and yoga studios and outdoor movie screens. The last decade started with roughly 38% of apartment buildings built in 2011 offering amenity-rich environments and reached a peak in 2020 when over 60% of new buildings came with a diverse blend of sought-after features.

Led by Chandler, Gilbert and Scottsdale, suburban rental communities come with all the bells and whistles

A well-planned suburban city close to Phoenix, Gilbert emerges as the best place for renter amenities. About 60% of local apartment buildings boast a diverse mix of communal features for residents. Community outdoor space is prevalent across all large-scale rental complexes, as is parking space, and almost all apartment buildings are outfitted with sparkling swimming pools that can rival anything a vacation retreat can offer. Close to 80% of Gilbert’s multifamily communities feature playgrounds and about a quarter offer their residents basketball courts.

Gilbert, in fact, comes with a high standard of living overall. It’s home to a vibrant economy fueled by plenty of job opportunities, beautiful parks and excellent schools that turn the city into a highly desirable place to live. Gilbert attracted many STEM-oriented companies as its proximity to Arizona State University’s Polytechnic Campus means that it produces a highly specialized workforce. It’s no wonder that Money magazine named Gilbert among 2020-21’s Best Places to Live.

Top 10 Best Cities for Apartment Community AmenitiesWhile Gilbert came first in our national ranking, it isn’t the only Arizonan city to make the list. Its neighbor Chandler ranks second, with 58% of its rental properties equipped with community facilities that respond to varied renter needs. After the city experienced a job market boom facilitated by software and financial companies and the healthcare industry, among others, people started to move there in droves. The population increased by 20% over the last decade, which prompted the addition of about 6,500 rental units to the local housing market. All large-scale apartment buildings in Chandler boast a common outdoor space — be it a garden or a rooftop deck — along with resort-style pools and 24hr fitness centers. Moreover, apartment buildings are particularly family-friendly here, with about 54% of rental communities offering playgrounds for kids’ enjoyment. Renters can also make use of volleyball courts in roughly 45% of rental complexes.

Scottsdale joins Chandler and Gilbert in offering top-notch community perks with more than 50% of apartment buildings being outfitted with a mix of in-demand features. Most of Scottsdale’s rental buildings excel at offering entertainment space and access to pools, spas and fitness centers, whether they choose to enjoy the Sonoran-desert landscape or they seek a wellness-oriented activity indoors. Furthermore, a large majority of apartment complexes come with clubhouses. About 21% of rental communities provide tennis courts among their mix of amenities, and close to 11% of apartment buildings in the city offer their residents access to on-site golf courses.

Scottsdale’s renter packages are aimed at satisfying an increasing pool of high-end renters as the local demographic shifted towards a younger, more lifestyle-oriented generation. The city’s desirability stems from a thriving local job scene and the steps it’s taken towards sustainability. Among the many eco-friendly policies, the local golf courses are watered through the Scottsdale Water Campus sewage treatment plan.

Top 100 Cities by Community Amenities 

RankCityStateMix of Amenities
1GilbertAZ59%
2ChandlerAZ57.9%
3IrvineCA55%
4HendersonNV53.8%
5OrlandoFL52.9%
6ScottsdaleAZ50.6%
7PlanoTX49.4%
8MesaAZ49.3%
9North Las VegasNV47.8%
10TampaFL46.8%
11AuroraCO46.6%
12St. PetersburgFL46.2%
13AustinTX46.1%
14JacksonvilleFL45.9%
15CharlotteNC45.4%
16RaleighNC45.2%
17Colorado SpringsCO44.8%
18PhoenixAZ44.5%
19AlbuquerqueNM43.5%
20Las VegasNV43.4%
21San AntonioTX43.2%
22GlendaleAZ43%
23TucsonAZ42.9%
24Fort WorthTX42.5%
25RenoNV42.4%
26DurhamNC42.4%
27DenverCO42%
28LincolnNE42%
29IrvingTX41.9%
30Virginia BeachVA41.3%
31BoiseID41.1%
32San JoseCA40.4%
33San DiegoCA39.9%
34GreensboroNC39.9%
35AtlantaGA39.7%
36HoustonTX39.5%
37NashvilleTN39.1%
38GarlandTX39%
39RiversideCA38.7%
40IndianapolisIN38.7%
41DallasTX37.9%
42FremontCA37.9%
43LubbockTX37.8%
44ChesapeakeVA37%
45AnaheimCA36.9%
46Winston-SalemNC36.9%
47SacramentoCA36.8%
48MiamiFL36.6%
49ArlingtonTX36.6%
50Fort WayneIN36.3%
51FresnoCA36.3%
52Chula VistaCA36.2%
53Kansas CityMO35.5%
54Santa AnaCA35.4%
55OmahaNE35%
56Corpus ChristiTX34.9%
57RichmondVA34.9%
58Oklahoma CityOK34.8%
59ArlingtonVA34.7%
60Baton RougeLA34%
61ParadiseNV33.7%
62El PasoTX33.7%
63LexingtonKY33.5%
64TulsaOK32.7%
65LouisvilleKY32.6%
66BakersfieldCA32.3%
67WichitaKS32.1%
68New OrleansLA30.4%
69SpokaneWA29.7%
70ColumbusOH29.7%
71MemphisTN29.6%
72Jersey CityNJ29.6%
73Los AngelesCA29.3%
74Long BeachCA28.5%
75MadisonWI27.5%
76StocktonCA27.5%
77CincinnatiOH27.0%
78SeattleWA26.4%
79PortlandOR26.2%
80BostonMA25.9%
81HialeahFL25.8%
82MinneapolisMN25.7%
83OaklandCA25.4%
84St. LouisMO25.4%
85WashingtonDC24.8%
86San FranciscoCA24.6%
87PittsburghPA24.1%
88St. PaulMN24%
89ChicagoIL23.9%
90NorfolkVA22%
91HonoluluHI22%
92BaltimoreMD21.9%
93MilwaukeeWI20.7%
94ToledoOH20.4%
95PhiladelphiaPA20.1%
96ClevelandOH16.8%
97DetroitMI16.4%
98New YorkNY15.2%
99BuffaloNY12.5%
100NewarkNJ9.7%
Source: STORAGECafé analysis of Yardi Matrix data

California is not short of high-end apartment living and Irvine shines brightest in terms of renter amenities. While the cost of living here isn’t cheap, you generally get more bang for the buck. Apartments in Irvine rent for roughly $2,400/month, which is generally lower than in other large CA cities such as San Francisco or Santa Monica, with residents getting access to a plurality of amenities. Approx. 55% of apartment buildings offer a diverse mix of community features to help address their need for convenience, practicality and wellness. Most apartment buildings in Irvine come with premier outdoor space.

skyline of downtown Irvine CA Sun lovers can enjoy those 280+ days of Irvine sunshine from the privacy of their community pool. Relaxing at an on-site spa as well as dropping by the community business center for a change of scenery when in “work from home” mode is also a possibility in more than half of the local apartment buildings. A large majority of apartment buildings in Irvine boast a clubhouse, and sports enthusiasts can have access to baseball courts in about 31% of apartment buildings. Tennis fans will find a court in about a quarter of local communities.

The first Nevada city to make the top 10 list, Henderson stands out as one of the best-equipped cities in terms of addressing renter needs as more than half of the apartment buildings here come with several perks. The Las Vegas suburb has grown considerably, prompting developers to add over 7,800 units in the past decade. Renters here can enjoy a versatile community lifestyle, whether enrolling in a lazy day at the pool or working out at the community fitness center without leaving the premises. Close to half of the rental complexes in Henderson offer their residents access to a playground and many now offer clubhouses for a plus of comfort.

Lake Las Vegas in Henderson NVBesides Henderson, North Las Vegas emerges as a top option for amenity-rich apartment living. Just across town from the Strip, and income tax-free, North Las Vegas is an up-and-coming city that has a lot to offer. Close to 48% of the local rental communities boast a nice mix of convenient community features. All apartment complexes offer outdoor space and parking spots, and swimming pools are almost a given in most of these places. Playgrounds are also a popular option in most of the local apartment complexes, and roughly 20% of rental buildings provide access to a basketball court in North Las Vegas.

Community outdoor space and pools? The Southwest bests the rest

Community outdoors space — whether it’s a patio or a rooftop deck — is one of the most in-demand amenities that renters look for in a residential community. As it turns out, cities where renters can most easily enjoy outdoor space are concentrated in the Southwest.

Renters in Arizona’s Gilbert, Chandler and Glendale can bask in the sun without leaving the premises of their community. Nevada’s renters in Paradise and Henderson also boast access to the same types of amenities in all of their rental communities. Coincidentally, the same cities also offer swimming pools in most residential buildings. Renting in cities such as Arlington and Plano in Texas guarantees you’ll have an outdoor spot to relax in and enjoy the sun at any of the rental communities. The same holds true if you’re a renter in Irvine, CA.

Cities Boasting Most Renter Outdoor Space And Pools  

RankCityStateCombined ScoreCommunity Outdoor SpaceSwimming Pools
1GilbertAZ99.5%100%99%
2ChandlerAZ99.5%100%99%
3ParadiseNV99.1%100%98.2%
4HendersonNV99%100%98%
5MesaAZ98.7%99.8%97.5%
6IrvineCA97.9%98.3%97.5%
7GlendaleAZ97.7%100%95.4%
8ScottsdaleAZ97.4%95.8%99.1%
9TucsonAZ97.2%98.4%96.1%
10ArlingtonTX96.9%99.6%94.2%
11PlanoTX96.5%94.4%98.5%
12IrvingTX96.4%98.1%94.7%
13PhoenixAZ96.3%97.3%95.3%
14GarlandTX96.2%100%92.3%
15Las VegasNV96%98.7%93.3%
16RiversideCA95.8%100%91.5%
17North Las VegasNV95.4%100%90.8%
18AustinTX95.3%95.9%94.7%
19OrlandoFL95.3%96.6%94%
20San AntonioTX95%98.1%92%
21FremontCA94.7%98.1%91.3%
22Fort WorthTX94.2%95.7%92.8%
23AnaheimCA94.1%95.4%92.9%
24TampaFL93.7%93.2%94.3%
25Colorado SpringsCO93.6%99.3%88%
26FresnoCA93.6%99.4%87.8%
27LubbockTX93.2%98.8%87.6%
28HoustonTX92.9%93.9%91.8%
29AlbuquerqueNM92.6%98%87.2%
30AuroraCO92.6%98.6%86.6%
31Oklahoma CityOK91.3%97.2%85.4%
32Corpus ChristiTX91%98.2%83.7%
33BakersfieldCA90.8%100%81.7%
34TulsaOK90.5%97.2%83.9%
35DallasTX90.4%92.9%87.8%
36SacramentoCA90.3%96.1%84.5%
37JacksonvilleFL90.1%95.4%84.8%
38Virginia BeachVA89.2%95.4%82.9%
39CharlotteNC89.1%90.7%87.4%
40RaleighNC89%90%87.9%
41Chula VistaCA88.7%98.9%78.6%
42DurhamNC88.5%92.9%84.1%
43St. PetersburgFL88.2%88.2%88.3%
44Baton RougeLA88%95.8%80.2%
45GreensboroNC87.2%98.8%75.6%
46IndianapolisIN86%95.8%76.2%
47WichitaKS86%96.2%75.7%
48El PasoTX85.8%99.3%72.4%
49LincolnNE85.7%95.5%75.9%
50StocktonCA85.3%97.3%73.3%
51Winston-SalemNC85.3%95.9%74.7%
52AtlantaGA84.2%85.2%83.2%
53Santa AnaCA84.2%93.1%75.2%
54San JoseCA83.9%89.1%78.7%
55RenoNV83.6%95.3%71.9%
56ChesapeakeVA82.6%98.4%66.7%
57LexingtonKY82.1%96.6%67.5%
58Fort WayneIN81.5%95.6%67.3%
59OmahaNE81.4%91.1%71.7%
60NashvilleTN81%87.2%74.7%
61BoiseID80.3%93.7%66.9%
62ColumbusOH79.9%94.8%64.9%
63RichmondVA79.8%90.8%68.6%
64DenverCO79%82.1%76%
65San DiegoCA78.3%82%74.6%
66MemphisTN77.9%93%62.8%
67LouisvilleKY75.9%92.9%58.9%
68Kansas CityMO75.8%83.7%67.8%
69SpokaneWA74.5%93.3%55.5%
70New OrleansLA72.9%84.2%61.4%
71Long BeachCA70.7%79.5%62%
72HialeahFL70.2%84.5%55.8%
73CincinnatiOH70%84.9%55%
74MiamiFL68.9%67.2%70.7%
75St. LouisMO67.5%77.3%57.8%
76ToledoOH67.4%91.9%42.9%
77Los AngelesCA66.8%77.1%56.8%
78MadisonWI65.6%87.1%44.1%
79NorfolkVA65.2%88.8%41.6%
80ArlingtonVA62.3%50.8%72.8%
81St. PaulMN55.6%76.7%34.2%
82BaltimoreMD53.6%75.6%32.3%
83PortlandOR52.5%76.8%28.9%
84PittsburghPA50.4%60%40.9%
85WashingtonDC50%59.2%41.3%
86Jersey CityNJ49.3%50.6%48.1%
87MilwaukeeWI47.4%79.2%15.3%
88MinneapolisMN45.8%60.1%31.1%
89BostonMA45.6%57.8%33.4%
90OaklandCA45.6%67.8%24%
91PhiladelphiaPA44.5%60.3%28.7%
92SeattleWA43.6%75.4%12.9%
93DetroitMI42.4%60.5%24.2%
94San FranciscoCA41%62.7%21.2%
95BuffaloNY37.7%68.5%6.8%
96HonoluluHI37.5%47.5%27.4%
97ClevelandOH37.1%51.8%22.4%
98ChicagoIL36.4%39%33.8%
99NewarkNJ22%40.8%3.2%
100New YorkNY21.2%31.8%10.5%
Source: STORAGECafé analysis of Yardi Matrix data

New York City, on the other hand, lags behind when it comes to extensive community outdoor space. But it’s also true that New Yorkers can enjoy some of the best views in the US, many available from the comfort of renters’ own homes, as well as other high-end services and smart tech features. Roughly 30% of the rental communities in NYC offer rooftop space and gardens combined for entertainment. Much like NYC, Chicago also offers access to outdoor community space and pools in only 39% of its rental complexes.

Business centers assist WFH renters most in tech-driven CA and TX cities

With the pandemic leading to an increase in remote work for a lot of Americans, the home had to provide extra room for a workspace. Needless to say, that was often harder to achieve for apartment dwellers, who generally enjoy less personal space than people who live in houses.

For renters especially, finding a safe workspace outside the apartment, but still keeping safety in mind, became essential. In this case, rental buildings that could provide access to a business center saw their residents turn to this amenity to help them cope with the space demands of working from home. Some cities fared better than others in providing their dwellers with this type of service.

California’s Irvine came in first, with over 77% of rental communities being able to offer their residents a business center. A total of three Texan cities, including Plano, Austin and Lubbock, were the next best cities to respond to renter’s needs for a business center that can support WFH within apartment buildings. It comes naturally for Texan cities to offer this feature in the large majority of their rental buildings as the Lone Star State ranked fifth nationally for its tech industry.

Cities with the most business centers for renters 

RankCityStateBusiness Center
1IrvineCA77.2%
2PlanoTX69.1%
3AustinTX68.3%
4LubbockTX61.8%
5CharlotteNC61.5%
6OrlandoFL60.6%
7ArlingtonVA60.2%
8ChandlerAZ59.5%
9HendersonNV58.8%
10AtlantaGA57.2%
11ScottsdaleAZ56.9%
12GilbertAZ56.8%
13San AntonioTX55.8%
14St. PetersburgFL55.1%
15RaleighNC54.2%
16DenverCO52.7%
17North Las VegasNV52.4%
18JacksonvilleFL51.6%
19DurhamNC50.4%
20San JoseCA49.8%
21TampaFL49.7%
22Fort WorthTX49.6%
23TulsaOK49.5%
24RenoNV49.3%
25MiamiFL49%
26HoustonTX48.5%
27AuroraCO47.4%
28IrvingTX47.4%
29New OrleansLA46.4%
30IndianapolisIN45.5%
31San DiegoCA45.5%
32DallasTX45.2%
33RiversideCA43.8%
34Baton RougeLA43.7%
35NashvilleTN43.2%
36BoiseID43%
37Colorado SpringsCO43%
38AlbuquerqueNM42.5%
39MinneapolisMN41.8%
40GreensboroNC41.6%
41Winston-SalemNC41.5%
42ChicagoIL40.9%
43Virginia BeachVA40.8%
44WashingtonDC40.2%
45Corpus ChristiTX40.2%
46Oklahoma CityOK38.3%
47Kansas CityMO38.3%
48LexingtonKY37.8%
49Jersey CityNJ36.8%
50OaklandCA36.5%
51SpokaneWA36.5%
52BostonMA36.3%
53Los AngelesCA35.9%
54SeattleWA34.7%
55WichitaKS34.6%
56LouisvilleKY34.5%
57PhoenixAZ33.5%
58PittsburghPA33.5%
59OmahaNE32.7%
60GarlandTX32.7%
61Las VegasNV32.7%
62San FranciscoCA32%
63Long BeachCA31.7%
64St. LouisMO30.9%
65BaltimoreMD30.6%
66Santa AnaCA30.5%
67ChesapeakeVA30.4%
68PhiladelphiaPA30.4%
69Chula VistaCA29.1%
70MadisonWI28.9%
71RichmondVA28.7%
72LincolnNE28.4%
73ClevelandOH28%
74AnaheimCA27.5%
75MilwaukeeWI26.5%
76SacramentoCA26.2%
77St. PaulMN26.2%
78FremontCA25.9%
79ArlingtonTX24.9%
80GlendaleAZ24.8%
81El PasoTX24.6%
82PortlandOR24.3%
83MesaAZ24.2%
84ColumbusOH23.9%
85Fort WayneIN23.1%
86TucsonAZ22.3%
87MemphisTN22.1%
88CincinnatiOH21.6%
89ToledoOH20.4%
90NorfolkVA20.2%
91DetroitMI19%
92BakersfieldCA18.9%
93FresnoCA17.6%
94StocktonCA15.2%
95HialeahFL13.7%
96HonoluluHI13.3%
97New YorkNY13.1%
98ParadiseNV12.4%
99NewarkNJ9.6%
100BuffaloNY7%
Source: STORAGECafé analysis of Yardi Matrix data

On the opposite end of the spectrum, residential buildings in Buffalo, NY, are the least equipped with business centers (about 7% of buildings). As it turned out, Buffalo saw a low apartment construction level in the past decade — about 2,100 units or 17% of 2010’s inventory were delivered in the past ten years. Even though Buffalo registers the third-largest construction projection for 2021 among NY State’s biggest cities, demand for this type of amenity isn’t high. Similarly to Buffalo, Newark also registers few apartment buildings (9.6%) that feature a business center. The city only added about 2,400 units during the last decade, with 997 scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Self storage makes up for the “missing community amenity” in most growing cities

While renters in many of America’s cities have access to a varied array of community amenities, one that’s increasingly missing is storage outside their unit. According to the MULTIFAMILY Design+Construction Amenities Study 2021, storage is cited as one of the most in-demand amenities that isn’t widely available. In fact “storage (outside the unit)” seems to have dropped off significantly, from 62.4% in 2017 and 57.5% in 2019 to 44.2% in 2020.

Interestingly enough, this widespread need for extra space wasn’t ignored, but rather reconsidered and redirected to the self storage sector. In fact, self storage grew considerably in the last decade — generally all across the country but more intensely in red-hot migration destinations.

“Developers acknowledged this increasing demand for extra storage and have found new ways to respond to renters’ needs,” said Doug Ressler, Business Intelligence Manager at Yardi Matrix. “Many developers already offer on-site storage as an amenity in rental communities. Others locate new developments in close vicinity of self storage facilities, which allows convenient access to extra space. Whether moving, downsizing or seeking better organized living spaces, people use self storage more often, with storage space increasingly becoming a hot commodity in today’s residential world.”

The cities that have the highest self storage inventory per capita are also often the places that have been continuously attracting people on the move. For instance, Orlando, FL, boasts the highest square footage per capita (26 sq. ft./person), almost four times larger than the national average. This impressive level of construction is partly due to the demand created by the overwhelmingly large numbers of newcomers that turned Orlando into the second fastest-growing city in America. Despite Orlando’s reputation as a snowbird magnet, the great majority of incoming residents are young and looking to settle down here, as the city’s varied job market and convenient cost of living make it a desirable city.

Baton Rouge has also been able to attract newcomers thanks in part to promising career opportunities and to its lower cost of living. As a result, developers in Baton Rouge amped up self storage construction and now offer 19.8 square feet of self storage space per person, the second-largest square footage per capita in the country. Similarly, as Las Vegas continued to attract newcomers looking to set down roots, self storage development has also grown. The Entertainment Capital of the World currently provides 19.5 square feet of self storage per person.

Best and Worst Cities for Storage Space

RankCityStateSquare Feet/CapitaSelf Storage RentOutside Storage
1OrlandoFL26.1$10731.1%
2Baton RougeLA19.8$10031.6%
3Las VegasNV19.5$11655.3%
4RenoNV16.9$11343.5%
5MiamiFL16.8$1494.3%
6RichmondVA16.7$10318.1%
7TampaFL16.6$10845.0%
8BoiseID15.8$10259.0%
9BakersfieldCA12.9$6520.0%
10Virginia BeachVA12.8$10136.4%
11PlanoTX12.5$10165.1%
12LubbockTX12.4$8740.1%
13Colorado SpringsCO12.3$10940.2%
14SpokaneWA11.5$11432.3%
15TulsaOK11.3$7631.8%
16CincinnatiOH11.1$9511.3%
17HoustonTX11$9043.2%
18TucsonAZ10.9$10259.3%
19GreensboroNC10.9$8037.2%
20RiversideCA10.8$11953.1%
21SacramentoCA10.4$14841.1%
22DurhamNC10.3$9651.3%
23ChesapeakeVA10.3$10228.2%
24PittsburghPA10.1$1156.5%
25Oklahoma CityOK10$7223.4%
26RaleighNC9.9$8753.6%
27San AntonioTX9.9$10258.9%
28AtlantaGA9.9$13836.9%
29AustinTX9.7$11359.5%
30Corpus ChristiTX9.7$9248.8%
31IrvineCA9.6$15160.8%
32ScottsdaleAZ9.5$16473.7%
33JacksonvilleFL9.5$9937.7%
34MesaAZ9.1$9769.6%
35OmahaNE9.1$8030.1%
36LouisvilleKY9.1$9025.6%
37AlbuquerqueNM9$10449.7%
38ArlingtonTX8.9$8962.8%
39FresnoCA8.7$10324.1%
40GlendaleAZ8.5$10774.9%
41ChandlerAZ8.3$11984.3%
42HendersonNV8.3$12673.3%
43Fort WorthTX8.3$9556.1%
44IrvingTX8.2$8859.3%
45GarlandTX8.2$9651.6%
46IndianapolisIN8.2$8331.7%
47St. LouisMO8.2$10410.1%
48GilbertAZ8.1$11698.4%
49MemphisTN8.1$8626.0%
50NorfolkVA8.1$9210.4%
51Fort WayneIN7.9$9153.7%
52CharlotteNC7.8$8947.8%
53AuroraCO7.6$10649.8%
54DallasTX7.3$11247.5%
55WichitaKS7.3$8113.0%
56StocktonCA7.2$12219.9%
57DenverCO7$12236.3%
58North Las VegasNV6.5$10056.2%
59PortlandOR6.5$15226.4%
60BaltimoreMD6.5$12214.5%
61LincolnNE6.3$8734.6%
62El PasoTX6.1$8834.1%
63Chula VistaCA6$16442.8%
64LexingtonKY6$10633.2%
65Kansas CityMO5.9$10724.2%
66New OrleansLA5.9$13817.2%
67PhoenixAZ5.7$11965.4%
68ToledoOH5.5$8316.9%
69NashvilleTN5.4$11022.3%
70ColumbusOH5.4$905.7%
71MilwaukeeWI4.9$923.2%
72HialeahFL4.8$1401.5%
73Long BeachCA4.7$18539.5%
74MadisonWI4.7$1038.9%
75Jersey CityNJ4.6$211
76SeattleWA4.6$20016.1%
77FremontCA4.3$15958.8%
78San DiegoCA4.2$17447.2%
79ChicagoIL4.2$1260.5%
80San JoseCA4.1$17146.5%
81ClevelandOH4$106
82AnaheimCA3.9$18260.8%
83MinneapolisMN3.9$1080.9%
84Santa AnaCA3.7$17141.5%
85Winston-SalemNC3.4$8429.6%
86PhiladelphiaPA3.2$1431.6%
87BuffaloNY3.1$1294.2%
88OaklandCA3$20810.3%
89HonoluluHI3$294
90ArlingtonVA2.6$2433.7%
91WashingtonDC2.6$1695.1%
92New YorkNY2.5$2450.2%
93San FranciscoCA2.4$27218.1%
94St. PetersburgFL2.2$14237.1%
95NewarkNJ2$137
96DetroitMI1.8$1543.8%
97Los AngelesCA1.6$24714.2%
98St. PaulMN1.6$1534.0%
99BostonMA1$188
100ParadiseNV0.439.0%
Source: STORAGECafé analysis of Yardi Matrix data

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Paradise, NV, provides only 0.4 square feet of self storage per person, the lowest space per capita in our list. Geographically, Paradise is in fact synonymous with the Strip, which partly explains why the need for self storage is less prevalent. Surprisingly, however, Boston, MA, comes out as the most under-served big city in the US, mainly due to its stricter zoning regulations that prevent new construction in many of the historical neighborhoods. With approx. just 1 sq. ft. per person, Boston residents are left with a big need for storage space.

What the experts are saying

Michael A. Burayidi, Ph.D., Professor of Urban Planning, Department of Urban Planning, Ball State University Michael A. Burayidi, Ph.D., Professor of Urban Planning, Department of Urban Planning, Ball State University

How have community amenities evolved in the past decade?

The amenities that have changed the most are storage facilities, which have proliferated significantly. I think this has become necessary in part because of the ageing of the population. As people downsize, they often attribute sentimental values to some of their possessions, and so they keep them longer than they should. This has created the need to provide space for them to store these items. I think in the next decade we will continue to see a growth in storage facilities in the country as the population ages.

Within apartment complexes themselves, there has been a need to provide day care for residents so single-parent households in particular can work outside of the home. Communal meeting rooms have also been added to apartment complexes to make it convenient for residents to meet with management to participate in making decisions that affect them.

Moving forward, I think the sharing economy will impact what is provided within apartment complexes. For example, I foresee a need for management of these buildings to assist in making transportation arrangements so that ride-share services are available to residents.

Which areas of the country have seen the most amenity-rich rental communities? Have you noticed a difference in cities vs suburban areas?

The parts of the country that are growing, the South and the West, are those that are seeing new development, particularly in the suburban areas. This is the part of the country where new amenities are also being provided. Because cities are already built up, it is more expensive to retrofit them for the provision of amenities.

Which community amenities gained the most traction in the past decade/few years and why?

By far, the growth in storage facilities is perhaps the amenity that has gained the most traction. Additionally, the high vacancy rates and blight in some cities have also necessitated the conversion of some underutilized spaces into urban gardens. In housing, we see the movement to do away with single family zoning and incorporate granny flats into previously single family neighborhoods to address housing shortage.

Kheir Al-Kodmany, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago Kheir Al-Kodmany PhD Professor

Which areas of the country have seen the most amenity-rich rental communities? Have you noticed a difference in cities vs suburban areas?

One important aspect of “flattening” the American Metropolis involves the introduction of tall buildings in suburban communities. Traditionally, American urban cores have been characterized by large concentrations of high-rises, and, in contrast, suburbs have been characterized by single-family detached houses on spacious lots. However, this age-old spatial dichotomy is slowly shifting in response to recent demographic changes, market fluctuations, and sustainability concerns.

For instance, The Miami region attracts people from all over the world because it enjoys beautiful weather, gorgeous beaches, wonderful amenities (e.g. restaurants, coffee shops, bars, hotels, entertainment facilities, etc.), and an attractive tax structure, as well as a spectacular cultural mix. As a Miami suburb, Aventura is characterized by scattered clusters of “vertical gated communities,” where amenities, services, and facilities are exclusive to residing tenants and their guests. Aventura also contains townhomes, gated communities, and exclusive single-family home waterfront communities. In Aventura, tall buildings cluster to create “vertical gated communities.” There are many cases where two to five tall buildings cluster to create their own internal world that enjoys exclusive amenities and services. Indeed, almost all parks, golf courses, and marinas are private and exclusive. Exclusivity is also reinforced by Aventura’s lack of an effective transportation system; its residents depend mainly on the private automobile.

Which community amenities gained the most traction in the past decade/few years and why?

For reasons of marketability and convenience, developers are incorporating diverse, wide-ranging recreational services – for example, dancing, music, art, sports and fitness centers, spas, and saunas – into high-rises, as is the case in many of Miami suburbs. Some recreational activities are happening in “virtual space” through computerized environments. For example, while hunting, flying, and fishing require outdoor environments, today they can also be enjoyed indoors via virtual environments.

The appropriate type and mix of recreational activities in a tall building varies depending on the cultural setting, use, building capacity, and existence of recreational amenities in nearby buildings. Also, activities vary according to the intended clients. “Luxury” hotels for example, tailor their recreational facilities to the needs and expectations of their affluent guests. Recreational facilities can easily be accommodated in multi-use high-rises to provide easy access for occupants and for the surrounding community. Future high-rises will likely further humanize the indoor environment by including more recreational facilities such as parks, gardens, and swimming pools to create a condition more like that of the natural ground plane.

Daryl Spradley, Senior Vice President Charles Wayne Consulting, Inc.

Which community amenities gained the most traction in the past decade/few years and why?

Cover porches off the main club room have expanded tremendously, adding such things as fireplaces, wet bars, wide-screen televisions and even game tables such as billiards, ping pong and table shuffleboard. Sometimes, these features occur in pool pavilions which are also under roof but open air. The movement started several years ago when operators realized that residents did not have access to the main clubhouse after normal leasing hours if club spaces and leasing were freestanding and not internal to the main residential building.

Most residents don’t get home until around 6:00 PM about the time leasing shuts down for the day. By moving enhanced gathering areas to the porch, under a pool pavilion or other defined spaces, residents can gather and enjoy the company of others into the evening hours. By nature, residents are a social class and these outdoor features, no doubt, provide an outlet for them. The tendency now is to separate gathering spots into segmented or smaller areas for social distancing which are often defined with low walls, landscaping treatments, outdoor lighting and other planning techniques. These would include hammock gardens, outdoor yoga areas, exercise lawns, bocce courts, fire pits or outdoor fireplaces, pocket parks and so forth. The value of biking and walking trails have long been overlooked by the industry but will resurface, so to speak, based on the need for social distancing and some exercise.

Expect the furniture industry to solve work-from-home issues with folding computer tables and other small space work stations. Co-working spaces started to appear prior to Covid in the form of conference rooms with wide-screen televisions and personal day offices. If social distancing permits, these are often combined with computer studios and large co-working tables with multiple USB charging ports.

Digital parcel lockers have also gained in value due to the demand for home delivery. Some operators have even added digital dry-cleaning lockers!

Methodology

This analysis was done by STORAGECafé, an online platform that provides storage unit listings across the nation.

To compile this report, we analyzed multifamily amenities across the 100 largest US cities by population that also reported over 10,000 apartment units. Amenities we included in our analysis are business centers, spas, fitness centers, clubhouses, outdoor spaces, lake frontages, swimming pools and parking. We also looked at volleyball, basketball, tennis and racquetball courts, golf courses and playgrounds. We defined “outdoor space” as either gardens/patios and/or rooftop decks.

In our final ranking, we also included the improvement rating for each apartment building to help differentiate the class of amenities offered. In this sense, we used the standard building rating from A to D, with A+ representing the best type of amenities and D representing properties that display the bare minimum in terms of amenities. Data on improvement ratings was taken from Yardi Matrix.

Apartment buildings we included refer to rental units in 50+ unit buildings. Due to low sample size, the Bronx and Staten Island were not included in the New York data set. For the same reason, San Juan, PR, Laredo, TX, and cities in the state of Vermont were also excluded from our analysis.

The data on multifamily and self storage was taken from Yardi Matrix, STORAGECafé’s sister division and a business development and asset management tool for brokers, sponsors, banks and equity sources underwriting investments in the multifamily, office, industrial and self storage sectors.

Fair Use and Distribution

This study serves as a resource for the general public on issues of common interest and should not be regarded as investment advice. The data is true to the best of our knowledge but may change if amendments to it are made. We agree to the distribution of this content but we do require a mention in return for attribution purposes.

Author

Mirela is a creative writer for STORAGECafé. With an academic background in English and translation, Mirela now covers a range of topics including real estate trends, lifestyle and economy. Her previous experience in proofreading academic articles has inspired Mirela to choose a writing career path. In her free time, Mirela enjoys reading, but also hiking and creating art. You can contact Mirela via email.

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