Top Trends for Urban Renters


rentersMany members of younger generations – known as “millennials” or “Gen Y-ers” — are increasingly looking to rent homes and apartments as a personal lifestyle choice. For this group, the benefits of renting as opposed to purchasing homes are many. There’s less commitment, which allows for the freedom to move around, as young people are often inclined to do. Another benefit is that in many popular urban areas there are options that place the renter right in the heart of the action, close to activities and amenities.

Make no mistake, developers and builders have taken note of this boom and are planning accordingly. So with that in mind here are some of the major trends in urban rentals that can be seen all across the United States.


Just as in home buying, it’s all about the location. Many of today’s renters are looking at properties that provide more in terms of lifestyle rather than a short commute to the office. Properties with nearby shopping centers, grocery stores, cinemas and other such options for commerce and entertainment are worth their weight in gold as far as younger renters are concerned.


One continuing trend with renters is the desire to be close to major amenities and public transit. Therefore builders in urban areas are constantly searching for undeveloped land or empty space amid mass public transport yet with a “neighborhood” feel as well. Bus lines within a block or two make the property attractive to renters and if there is a Metro line in the area then that is even better.


These days many renters in urban areas are opting for smaller spaces or “micro units.” These small living spaces are ideal for singles who don’t need – or want to pay for — a large space. Designers of these spaces have taken note of the trend and are coming up with new and inventive ways to customize these efficiency apartments, such as by adding sliding partition walls. They are also adding more common spaces in the buildings so tenants can feel a sense of community without the need to spend all their time in their apartment.


Today’s modern, younger renter not only wants the building location to accommodate their lifestyle, they want the building to accommodate their lifestyle as well. That means lifestyle design features factor heavily into new, urban buildings. Things like gyms, gardens, fire pits, parking, designated pet areas and bike storage are just some of the building amenities in high demand by renters. Even the fitness centers have changed in modern buildings, focusing on providing more quality exercise equipment as well as designated spaces for niche routines like yoga and Pilates.


One new popular trend many designers are focusing on is blending both indoor and outdoor spaces. This is increasingly possible due to technology, which allows for heating or cooling elements to be implemented outdoors. Now buildings can feature areas like courtyards that are inhabitable all months of the year.


This is one modern trend that is sweeping the nation. Many developers are meeting environmental and design standards – such as those put forth by LEED, an international certification system – that promotes sustainable construction and energy efficiency. By meeting these standards, oftentimes developers benefit from incentives such as increased floor area ratio.

These are just a few of the trends taking hold in the world of modern urban rental properties. Some trends, such as the value of location, have been around for a while. Others, such as green construction, are newer and will hopefully take hold everywhere across the country for the foreseeable future.

A Chicago native, Malisa Loberg likes to keep her finger on the pulse of the city! She has a nack for matching clients with neighborhoods and apartments that exceed their expectations. Malisa writes about great Chicago rentals and relocation issues for Apartment Guys of Chicago.

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