88% of MDU (multi-dwelling unit) renters in the US report have access to Wi-Fi through their property

Parks Associates’ new whitepaper, Smart Solutions – Boosting Revenue in Multifamily Properties, reports that 88% of US multi-dwelling unit (MDU) renters report access to Wi-Fi through their property either in-unit or in a common area. The whitepaper, developed in partnership with SmartRent, Inc.[NYSE: SMRT], a leading provider of smart home and smart building automation, examines the benefits of MDU smart home solutions.

Wi-Fi is the infrastructure to creating smart communities and offers operators the opportunity to meet renter demand and expectations as well as optimize OPEX and revenue. MDU renters are technically-centric, as 43% report using smart home devices. They likewise indicate a propensity to pay 10-30% higher rents when smart home devices including automated lighting, smart appliances, high broadband speed and remote access control, are available in the property.  This research highlights the opportunities for improved efficiency, increased resident safety and satisfaction, and additional revenues.

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“Smart tech is an effective tool for MDU owners and managers in attracting and retaining residents,” said Jennifer Kent, Vice President, Research, Parks Associates. “Wi-Fi access and bulk internet are already widespread in MDU market, with residents expecting Wi-Fi amenities as standard. The trends in MDU proptech are now expanding to include smart video doorbells, networked cameras, and even smart parking solutions.”

The market for smart technology solutions in MDUs has lagged behind the single-family housing market, but it is quickly catching up, especially as demand for high-end rental properties has accelerated.

“Renters want a truly connected community living experience, and the data within the whitepaper validates this perspective,” said Lucas Haldeman, CEO of SmartRent, Inc. “A connected community is not just about managed Wi-Fi. It is about future-proofing a property with smart home technologies. Operators are in a unique position to not only optimize NOI and operations through proptech solutions, but to also offer exceptional resident experiences that exceed renter expectations.” 

Currently, 34% of property managers have internet-connected/smart home devices installed in at least one property they manage. Of those respondents, 64% of property managers and owners expect OPEX savings of between 10% and 20%.

MDUs can deploy proptech and smart home solutions outside the units, in public spaces, and inside the units, for residents’ use. More than 50% of MDU managers with at least one smart home-enabled property have smart cameras installed in MDU common areas.

“This market offers significant revenue potential with benefits for multiple players, including MDU owners and their staff and residents,” Kent said. “With careful consideration to connectivity networks, integration with property management software, resident security and privacy, and training and support, vendors can offer a comprehensive solution that will tap into the full revenue-generating potential of this market.”

The research includes a snapshot of the current market for smart home solutions in MDUs, new revenues both from higher rents and savings on OPEX, and key considerations for both vendors and MDU owners and managers.