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Renters Will Pay More For 'Sense of Community'

Written by on Tuesday, 18 December 2007 6:00 pm
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Some apartment renters don't mind paying as much as $447 extra a month if they get the satisfaction they want from a sense of community.

Westlake Village, CA-based goods and service rater J.D. Power and Associates, earlier this year, conducted it's first Apartment Resident Satisfaction Study and Novato, CA-based RealFacts.com checked its database against the findings to discover renters will pay from $37 to $447 above average rents for the right kind of satisfaction.

J.D. Power took renters' pulses in four communities: Denver, CO; Las Vegas, NV; Orlando, FL; and San Jose (Silicon Valley), CA, to determine what satisfies them most about large apartment management companies.

The rating company measured apartment resident satisfaction six ways: amenities; condition of unit at move-in; rent/value; safety/security; sense of community; and service staff. It also asked renters in each of the four cities to rate management companies in terms of overall satisfaction.

Sense of community was the most important factor in determining resident satisfaction with apartment management companies, and residents who associate a strong sense of community with their apartment complex are considerably more satisfied than those who do not.

"Satisfying residents isn't necessarily about providing resort-like amenities, but rather about offering a lifestyle and a sense of home that resonates with tenants and creates feelings of pride, connection and identity," said Michael Drago, a senior account manager for real estate and construction studies at J.D. Power.

When renters chose management companies based on overall satisfaction, the top rated companies were shown to collect rents higher than the market average.

Novato, CA-based rental market monitor RealFacts checked the rents of those top-rated apartment management companies against the market average and found:

  • In Las Vegas, top rated Houston, TX-based Camden Property Trust collects average rents of $994, $37 more than the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) average of $957.

  • In Denver, renters were most satisfied with Foster City, CA-based Legacy Partners, which collects an average $1,087 in monthly rents, compared to the $1,029 MSA average -- a $58 difference.

  • Renters in Orlando gave the nod to Orland-based ZOM Residential Services which came in with an average $1,101 rent, $110 more than the MSA's $991 average.

  • In Silicon Valley, where the cost of living is among the highest on the planet, renters choose Irvine, CA-based Irvine Company Apartment Communities as the most satisfying management company. It collects an average $2,328 a month in rents, a whopping $447 more than the MSA average of $1,881 a month.

"So we see that good management can indeed rewards the managers. When you multiply the increased rent per unit times an average size (apartment complex) of 200 to 300 units, and then multiply that figure by 12 months in a year, the additional income could easily add up to more than a million dollars a year -- a powerful incentive to be a good manager of rental property," said Caroline S. Latham, CEO of RealFacts.

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