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Budget-Cautious Renters Turn Toward Apartment Amenities for Entertainment

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RISMEDIA, August 26, 2009-Renters across the country have cut costs this summer and remained closer to home. According to an Apartments.com national survey of more than 1,000 renters around the country, 55% of respondents said they are spending more time in their apartments this summer compared to previous years, citing economic factors as the primary reason they are traveling less. As a result of this new behavior, access to desirable apartment amenities and on-site community features become increasingly important to renters as they look for ways to enjoy the summer without breaking the bank.

Renters want apartment amenities and on-site community features that complement their summer lifestyle. Half of renter respondents said they entertain themselves by watching movies and surfing the Internet while 20% enjoy cookouts with family and friends. Given these popular summer pastimes, it should come as no surprise that the five apartment amenities renters treasure most during this time of year are:

-Air Conditioning
-Balcony, Deck, Patio, Porch or Yard
-On-Site Swimming Pool
-In-Unit Washer and Dryer
-Internet Access

These renter responses are further supported by Apartments.com search data. Air conditioning, balcony, porch and yard, swimming pool, in-unit washer and dryer and Internet access are among the top 10 most popular apartment amenity searches conducted on Apartments.com this summer.

Renters are paying attention to amenities during their apartment search. More than 90% of survey respondents said access to desirable apartment amenities impact where they choose to live and 45% said they have decided against renting an apartment because in-unit laundry facilities and air conditioning were not offered. Given this insight, managed apartment properties and communities may fill more vacancies by promoting popular amenities and on-site community features in advertised listings.

However, many renters will still rent an apartment if it does not include all the amenities renters want. During this survey, more than 80% of respondents said they are living without amenities they wish they had. Nearly 45% of renters said they would like, but are currently living without, access to laundry inside their apartment and outdoor features including a balcony, patio, deck or yard. The good news is that apartment property managers are answering most of the renter demand by offering air conditioning, which is the most sought-after apartment amenity according to this survey.

While amenities are important, renters consider multiple factors before deciding to rent an apartment. More than 35% of respondents said location and neighborhood have the biggest impact on their decision to choose one apartment over another if rent is not an issue, followed by 19% who said the size of the apartment matters most. Apartments.com has observed an upward trend of renters searching for larger apartments with three bedrooms, which could be an indicator that more people are doubling up with roommates or moving in with family in response to the current national economy.

To effectively attract renters to an apartment community, property managers and leasing professionals need to be in tune with the apartment amenities renters are searching for during their move. While certain amenities like air conditioning may be more popular during the summer, this could change depending on the time of year and the region of the country. In response to this need for information, Apartments.com issues a quarterly STaR report highlighting renter search behavior to keep its advertisers informed on the biggest trends happening in their market.

For more information, visit www.apartments.com.

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