• The rental market in Chicago is gentler on renters.
  • Property Management software company AppFolio commissioned a survey that looked at the whole rental process.
  • The survey found that renters like online enhancements to the rental process.

A property management software company conducted a national survey on what makes renters tick, and found that some markets, and some demographic groups, have different wants, needs and expectations of the same type of transaction.

Chicago differed in some ways from other large metros.

The company, AppFolio Property Management, commissioned the survey to delve into important criteria that renters are looking for in the multifamily rental market. They polled 1,500 renters across the country, through Google Consumer Surveys, to take the pulse of the rental market.

The survey results are meant to be used as advice for those in the business of property management.  

The company’s vice president of product, Nat Kunes, shared some insight on the Chicago market after the survey results were made public. Since AppFolio has clients in all 50 states, Kunes was able to share trends about local markets, where the survey generalized by demographic groups.

Chicagoland does not suffer from many of the constraints that many of the larger metros do.

“When we look at this market,” Kunes said, “we’re not seeing the tight supply constraints that we do in some other places – San Francisco, for example. The supply isn’t, though, out of whack.”

Kunes added that other macroeconomic factors are impacting the Chicago market. He said that overall, there has been a net outflux of population in the area.

“In the last few years,” he said, “there has been less demand, which has led to some lower prices.”

AppFolio’s survey sought to gauge what is top of mind for today’s renters, and what they most like about technology’s influx into the rental transaction.

Some of the key findings were:

  • Online convenience can make or break a signed lease
  • With more consumers renting versus buying, the rental market has become increasingly crowded
  • Nearly one-third (29 percent) say they found the rental listing for their current residence online
  • Renters prefer to complete apartment tasks from their phone, iPad or computer
  • The majority of tenants (46 percent) prefer to pay their rent digitally—through an app, website or automatic withdrawal
  • Nearly a quarter of renters eliminate a property from their search if photos or videos of the property are unavailable
  • Bad reviews (of the property itself or of the property manager) are also a deterrent, with 27 percent of respondents choosing this as the top reason for eliminating a property from their search
  • Thirty-two percent of respondents said half or more of their monthly income goes toward rent

The survey of U.S. consumers was conducted in January 2016. AppFolio was the sole investor in the study and the survey population is made up of a mix of U.S.-based consumers aged 18 and older.

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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