This is How the Pandemic has Changed What Renters Really Want

The global coronavirus pandemic has changed everything about the world we live in—including apartment renters’ priorities.

By Miranda Siwak | Published Apr 29, 2021 11:58 AM

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This is How the Pandemic has Changed What Renters Really Want


The events of the past year or so have shifted our priorities and livelihoods tremendously, including how we use our living spaces. Real estate rental company Zumper conducted a survey to determine exactly how this new normal has impacted renters’ wish lists of apartment amenities. By comparing search rates between last year and this year, Zumper determined which amenities were more important to renters now during the pandemic. (Hint: Outdoor living spaces and in-unit laundry were high on the list.)

This is How the Pandemic has Changed What Renters Really Want Outdoor Space


Outdoor Space Tops the List

In their study, Zumper found that what renters prioritize most now is some type of outdoor living space. In fact, “outdoor space” had a 143 percent year-over-year search growth rate, the highest of all Zumper’s searches. As for the types of outdoor spaces potential renters were seeking out, roof decks, balconies, gardens, swimming pools, and decks were all high on the list.

Related: 10 Design Trends We Didn’t See Coming Before the Pandemic

Where can I hide my junk?

Storage was the second-most searched-for amenity that prospective renters desired, a surprising result given that most of us probably aren’t thinking about how much closet space we need for our “going out” clothes these days. Zumper theorizes that the 92 percent search growth rate for storage might be a result of more people working from home, and the fact that they need updated desk spaces. People also have excess belongings—like bulky, seasonal clothes—that they don’t need immediately, which makes the desire for extra storage more crucial. It could also be that folks are stocking up a bit more on food and household supplies, and need somewhere to stash them.

This is How the Pandemic has Changed What Renters Really Want Parking Space


Parking and In-Unit Laundry Are Still The Dreams

For many renters, a “unicorn” apartment is one with a guaranteed parking space and an in-unit laundry machine—you are truly living the dream. According to Zumper’s study, these amenities are still highly coveted (with 73 percent and 64 percent search growth rates, respectively). Due to the pandemic, most renters want to isolate as much as possible and don’t want to use public transportation or visit laundromats if they don’t have to.

Related: 15 Things You Don’t Want in Your House During the Pandemic

This is How the Pandemic has Changed What Renters Really Want The Price


Is the price right?

Renters will have to pay for the amenities they want: The study found that apartments with the most desirable core amenities could command a higher price. In-unit laundry, for example, added an average of $170 more to an apartment’s rental price, and garage parking commanded a $149 increase. Units with gardens, package services, swimming pools, and outdoor spaces were more expensive to rent too. Pro tip: Budget-conscious renters who want outdoor space should consider a unit with a balcony, which adds, on average, just $35 to monthly rent.

Related: 10 Ways People Have Been Paring Down Possessions During the Pandemic

Different Generations, Different Priorities

As obvious as it sounds, renters of different generations had different priorities. Youthful Gen Z renters prioritized a walk-in closet, air conditioning, in-unit laundry, and dishwasher in their new home. Millennials wanted a walk-in closet the most, followed closely by hardwood floors. Gen Xers were looking for furnished rentals with a pool, while Baby Boomers sought out central heating and in-unit laundry.