Multifamily and Mix-Use Trends: The Real Estate Sociologist

Sep 24, 2015

Market patterns in the multifamily housing market are constantly adapting to condition and consumer preferences. Buyers and urban developers alike are altering approaches to space and quality to utilize all options due to such market shifts. Real estate is a major component in capitalizing assets such as space and quality, and the influence in multifamily construction is astonishing – specifically the boom in Luxury, or Class-A, housing.

According to recent reports, “more than 80%” of multifamily housing located in the “nation’s largest metropolitan areas – is luxury.” However, based on market insights, the rise in luxury multifamily housing has certainly placed a strain in mid-tier family housing rent rates. This trend has created an opportunity for investors to take B, C, and D level multifamily housing properties and upgrade them to class A structures. Urban development in desirable cities such San Francisco and New York City are feeling the affects first-hand, but developing urban settings such as Phoenix, Denver, and Seattle are seeing more of a drastic economical shift as a result of real estate development.

Every week, nearly “1 Million” residents migrate from rural to urban areas world-wide. They seek a higher quality of life with an elevated level of amenity expectations, putting pressure on developers and builders alike. However, amenities that were once ‘must-haves’ in the 80s and 90s, such as tennis courts and pools are not necessarily consumer demands in 2015.  Today’s consumer is much more savy and specific regarding construction finishes and proximal amenities. In order to keep up with demand, builders are offering amenities such as fitness centers, on-site parking, resort-style pools, walk-in closets, larger patios, upgraded common areas for socializing, housekeeping, valet dry-cleaning and car service, and on-site personal trainers. In addition to construction-based amenities, luxury multifamily housing construction trends are seeing a spike in service-oriented offerings.

One such property, the Village at Aspen Place, offers well beyond basic luxury amenities to appeal to such demographics. Located in Flagstaff, Arizona, the Village at Aspen Place features amenities that sprawl across categories of luxurious living:

  • Quality Construction: accent walls, pre-wired flat-screen hookups, large balconies and walk-out patios, 9’-10’ ceilings, oversized closets, and concierge doors.
  • Layouts: thirty-one layout possibilities, ranging from 420 to 1,605 square feet, duplex or single-story, single-bed to two-bed with adaptive den, single bath to two-and-a-half bath, and full in-unit laundry options.
  • Connection with Mixed-use Location: guest suites available for nightly rentals,  first-floor retail along with surrounding retail amenities, clubhouse with wine, coffee bar, fitness center, yoga facilities, mountain bike and ski repair shop, and dog washing/drying rooms.
  • Common Areas: resort style pool in courtyard, gourmet BBQ grills and flat screens, fireplaces, and multiple Jacuzzis.
  • On-site Services: valet trash/recycling pick up, valet dry cleaning, car service, package delivery, personal trainer, and massage therapists.

 “Everyone who lives in an urban centric community understands how rare it is to find property,” Tyler Mark, Wespac Construction Project Manager of The Village at Aspen Place, commented. “Utilizing space, as Aspen Place has done, is key to evolving condensed and resourceful urban developments while also emphasizing quality and luxury.”    

Combining mix-use properties with multifamily housing has become the norm in utilizing quality and space. For example, the Village at Aspen Place, a 350,000 square foot complex, features 30,000 square feet of retail as the ground level. Capitalizing on valuable space is clearly the better option for urban developers, and this trend in new constructions is a shockwave across the world.

As urban development expands into outer neighborhoods, developers are challenged with tailored approaches to each project. Of course appealing amenities and proximity are major game-changers in the evolving world of urban developments, but developers are challenged even more with playing the role of sociologist in addition to real estate guru.