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Millennials and multifamily living: 4 takeaways for your properties

By Robert Gaulden, director of multifamily channel strategy at Allegion


Are your properties appealing to the millennial market? As the largest generation in the U.S., this group is shaping the multifamily real estate market. From online shopping habits to their pursuit for more efficient routines, it’s important to understand how apartments can adapt to this generation’s wants and needs.


A new, national survey conducted by Allegion, “Home Safe Home: How Millennial Preferences Are Redefining Multifamily Living,” reveals ways multifamily developers, owners and property managers can cater to this group with access control and security technologies. The findings highlight millennials’ habits, behaviors and tendencies when it comes to their living situation and expectations for the future. Here are four noteworthy discoveries:

Finding #1: Millennials have sights set on multifamily environments

Millennials grew up alongside the iPhone, evolving from their Walkman to an iPod to an Apple Watch. They’re a tech-savvy generation. They’ve now graduated from college and many are living on their own in multifamily properties. In fact, 72 percent of millennials live in apartment buildings, and 75 percent plan to stay six months or longer.


With nearly three-quarters of the millennial generation living in apartments, multifamily properties need to find ways to retain these residents. Innovations in smart apartment technologies can help you stay ahead of their needs and find new, unique ways to improve their living experience. Consider smart apartment features that improve convenience and make this group more efficient in their day-to-day routines, like seamless access control with smart locks and mobile credentials.


Looking ahead, generation Z will find value in this as they begin to seek out their first apartments. Many are experiencing mobile credentials on higher education campuses. They will expect similar smart apartment technologies as they graduate and enter the market.


Pairing smart locks with mobile credentials establishes a new experience for residents. Not only is it more convenient, it makes new services more attainable, like dog walking, in-unit deliveries and more.  

Finding #2: Millennials shop online—making them vulnerable to package theft


The use of delivery services among millennials is staggering—57 percent. Sixty-three (63) percent receive one or two packages each week. Yet, 39 percent have had those packages stolen.


To overcome package delivery challenges, many apartments use a package delivery room or a locker system. Only those with access can get into the area, helping mitigate stolen packages. While this is more secure than leaving packages on the stoop or in the main entrance, there are still shortcomings.


Other residents have access to these packages. We hope that our friendly neighbors aren’t the ones stealing our packages, but that’s not always the reality. Food delivery and meal subscriptions are increasingly popular right now. But when people return to the offices, who is going to be home to put perishable foods away promptly? It’s unlikely that most of these rooms are temperature controlled. Allowing someone to deliver food right to the fridge would be a much more convenient option. Overcrowding is another problem. If 100 millennials live in a property, and more than half are ordering packages—some twice a week—chaos is bound to ensue in the delivery area.


Exploring alternative methods of security and access control can help to mitigate these issues while also building the trust of millennials. It starts with smart locks on the unit doors for in-home delivery. Mobile credentials make the experience even more secure. Temporary access can be granted, monitored and revoked using a mobile device. Furthermore, your property might be able to charge more for that essential piece of in-unit service and package delivery.

Finding #3: Millennials don’t always feel safe in their own homes


Feeling safe is a fundamental need. In fact, it’s ranked second in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Yet only 26 percent of those surveyed feel secure at home.


With only about a quarter of millennials feeling secure in their apartment, it’s critical for property managers to help increase their peace of mind. One way to do this is to incorporate offline smart locks on multifamily unit doors and educate dwellers on the value of these devices, like the enhanced security they offer.


Right now, only 12 percent currently have unconnected electronic door locks and only 9 percent have connected electronic locks. Electronic access control improves peace of mind because it gives residents and owners more control. Smart locks provide information for auditing and simplify rekeying issues. There’s even greater peace of mind when properties use electronic access control throughout the building; they have more control and visibility beyond unit doors.

Property managers can make multifamily living safer for millennials

Finding #4: Property managers can help renters feel safer while providing seamless access


It’s clear that this generation values solutions that make their lives easier and more seamless. Properties should consider how their access control system can integrate to simplify the resident’s experience. How can your property implement a convenient all-in-one mobile access control, while also simplifying and streamlining features like scheduling maintenance requests, managing packages, paying rent and more?


The research shows that there is already interest in mobile credentials. Two in five respondents would be “somewhat more likely” to live in a place that offered mobile access control and one in five respondents would be “much more likely.” I anticipate this would further increase if the millennials were educated on the value that mobile can offer them.


For example, instead of residents loaning out physical keys or fobs, they can easily request temporary mobile access for guests through an application. It’s a more secure alternative to loaning physical keys or access codes, which 58 percent are already doing. Mobile can add an extra layer of security and control.


Property managers can help increase multifamily security by incorporating smart apartment solutions and electronic access control. Beyond secure access, these solutions also allow for streamlined visitor management, package delivery and concierge services.


Download and share the complete infographic (available as PDF or PNG). For more on this topic, listen to Episode 121 of Multifamily Matters, "Home safe home: How millennial preferences are redefining multifamily living."