Apartment developers target Millennials

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The apartment housing sector isn’t about to be left out of the Millennial movement.

A huge demographic group, 80 million strong and aged about 13 to 35, is now entering prime renter age and they don’t want the rentals their parents lived in.

Also known as Generation Y or Gen Y, Millennials out number baby boomers and, unlike boomers, they also tend to delay traditional life events including marriage, having children and such as marriage, having children and homeownership.

That doesn’t mean location isn’t important according to Rohit Anand, principal of KTGY Architecture+Planning in Oakland, CA.

Anand says on the go-partying Millennials prefer apartments no more than 20 minutes to work or entertainment, on or near transit lines, in mixed use developments with a grocery store.

At home, Millennials desire easy parking, fitness centers, a pool and yoga amenities – amenities for a “social generation,” Anand said. In addition to the space in their apartments, Gen Y residents want second and third gathering spaces, the second is the amenities area, and the third is the city itself.

Developers are responding to Millennials’ living space with movable walls separating the various areas – the bar, lounge and fireplace may now all be located in one area, separated only by furnishings or furniture, in the style of an open loft floorplan.

Apartment builders are including lots of glass to achieve a look of transparency in the common areas and outside spaces include outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, even in cold regions. Fitness areas that provide spaces for yoga or pilates are also popular, said Anand. Dog and cat wash areas, garden plots and bike repair shops are other new amenities now being offered.

“People are very serious about their bikes today,” said Anand.

Multi-family densities are increasing from about 150 units per acre to 200 units, by placing some levels in the podium and most of them above podium levels.

Of course, as densities increase, apartment sizes are also becoming smaller. Anand said that the net average square feet may fall from 800 square feet to about 700 square feet. In the suburbs, he noted, they have also declined, from 1,100 square feet to 950 square feet.

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