NMHC & Grace Hill release data on COVID’s impact on renter preferences


The pandemic influenced 25 percent of renter moves over the past 18 months, and 70 percent of renters anticipate teleworking the same amount or more going forward, according to data from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and Grace Hill 2022 Renter Preferences Survey Report.

The survey of more than 221,000 renters, living in 4,564 communities nationwide, offers insights regarding the pandemic’s impact on renters’ preferences. Renters provided insights into everything from home features and community amenities to leasing terms and connectivity needs. The complete 2022 NMHC/Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey Report will be released in January 2022.

“The data provide the first glimpse of how today’s renters plan to live in a post-pandemic world, and that involves a highly connected lifestyle,” said Rick Haughey, Vice President, Industry Technology Initiatives, National Multifamily Housing Council. “Renters are streaming video content and music, gaming, working remotely and all of that indicates a need for a strong technology infrastructure in rental communities.”

Among hot topics and trends covered in the report: 

  • Making (Pandemic) Moves: Of respondents who moved in the past 18-months (60 percent), one-quarter (25 percent) reported that their move was due to a shift to remote work during the pandemic.
  • Renters Crave Flexibility: Nearly half of respondents (46 percent) would consider joining a rental housing membership program that would allow its members the flexibility to move between communities within a brand’s network of properties (similar to a vacation club).
  • The Ways We Work: One in three respondents (35 percent) indicated interest in using shared workspace at their communities, while 19 percent said they would consider using a coworking facility when teleworking.
  • Connectivity is Key: While 82 percent of respondents are streaming video daily and 73 percent are streaming music daily, 39 percent are video conferencing for work daily and 31 percent are gaming daily.
  • Something to Bark About: Pet breed restrictions may be falling out of favor with renters, with 77 percent of respondents indicating that pet breed restrictions would either have no effect on their leasing decisions or would make them less likely to rent a property with restrictions in place.

“Now more than ever, it is critical to have insights into how renters have changed over the last year. The pandemic caused some temporary, and some lasting, changes in our industry. Developers, property managers, architects and designers all need to know how renters’ needs and wants have shifted and this report provides that critical information,” said Kendall Pretzer, CEO of Grace Hill. “Armed with this powerful data, our industry is better positioned to adapt our operations, amenities, communities and partnerships to ensure we are providing the best living experiences possible and optimizing business objectives.”

Since its inception in 2013, the NMHC/Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey Report has been the authoritative data source for apartment owners, managers, developers, industry suppliers, as well as architects, financial institutions and others seeking insights into the minds of renters. This biennial survey provides users with reliable data to make a variety of investment, development and operational decisions. See examples of apartment communities here.