By Cecilia Chan
The race for amenities in the apartment sector has intensified in the country over the past decade, with 86% of new construction being classified as luxury housing, according to a recent study.
And Chandler is among the cities leading the pack.
Arizona in particular has shown a trend towards luxury living since 2012 with Chandler as well as Gilbert and Scottsdale seeing almost exclusively high-end apartments rising within their limits, according to a study by StorageCafe.
In the study’s list of top 20 high-end apartments, Gilbert, Chandler and Scottsdale snagged the No. 1, 2 and 4 spots, respectively, in the country, according to StorageCafe.
StorageCafe is a storage space finder website that is part of Yardi Matrix, which develops and supports industry-leading investment and property management software for real estate companies.
Over the past decade, all 4,000 apartments opened in Gilbert have been categorized as luxury housing, while Chandler had 99% – or 6,800 upscale units – and Scottsdale had 98.5% or 8,600 luxury units added to its housing inventory, according to the study’s author. Maria Gatea.
Mesa came in at No. 53 with 84% – or 3,794 units rated as luxury out of 4,502 units built.
The study analyzed 3.1 million apartments built over the past decade in 100 of the nation’s largest cities, looking only at complexes with 50 units or more, according to Gatea. The ranking is based on a proprietary property rating system developed by Yardi.
“We considered the luxury properties that the property ranking system determines to be in the A+, A, A- and B+ categories, based on a range of factors including unit size, architectural , build quality, finishing details, amenities, etc,” Gatea said in an email.
“Newer communities tend to out-compete older apartment stock, with most apartment buildings now boasting state-of-the-art amenities and conveniences, including smartly designed interiors, smart home features, fitness centers, clubhouses and swimming pools,” Gatea added.
Gilbert in particular is becoming a prime life hub, Gatea said.
“All of these new apartment buildings have resort-style pools and spas, well-maintained gardens and playgrounds, and more convenient features like outdoor storage,” she said.
Other high-end amenities include communal lounges with game stations, outdoor seating areas with gas grills and fire pits, bike storage and bike repair shops, according to Gatea.
“Volleyball courts are also prevalent in Gilbert – about 53% of prime apartments built here in the last decade offer tenants the opportunity to play volleyball,” Gatea said.
And “pet-related amenities are becoming increasingly popular at Gilbert’s newer resorts, with pet wash and grooming rooms or barkyards offering care options for foursome friends feet of the residents.”
Although Mesa was not ranked first for luxury apartment living, it had the highest percentage among the cities analyzed for volleyball courts at 80%, according to the study.
In Chandler, one of the newest luxury apartment complexes to open is Zaterra at 200 W. Germann Road, where apartments range in size from 838 to 1,325 square feet,
Each apartment has nine-foot ceilings, wood-style floors, designer light fixtures, washers and dryers. Among these features, Samsung stainless steel smart appliances and granite countertops are part of fully equipped gourmet kitchens, while private patios or balconies connect residents to the outdoors.
Additionally, each apartment has smart home technology, including smart door locks, thermostats and lights, all of which are controlled with Cox’s MyAPT app.
Zaterra’s extensive set of amenities includes electric vehicle charging stations, a community dog park (one for large-breed dogs and another for small-breed dogs), a pet spa, a gym social club with lounge seating, TVs and board games, creative suites with large conference room and individual private workspaces, 24-hour fitness center with on-demand classes and lawn outdoor yoga, outdoor entertaining area, free Wi-Fi in common area for Cox guests, community playground and kiddy pool, grilling stations, two resort-style pools with hot tubs, cabanas and lawns game, 24-hour on-call maintenance, lockers for waiting packages, and more.
The SeventyOne15 McDowell, now open in Scottsdale, offers amenities such as a two-story club room featuring an upscale kitchen with a complimentary coffee bar, upstairs pool games and lounge seating , a resort-style pool with an attached spa, a two-story fitness center, and a rooftop terrace with fire pits.
In addition to lifestyle-focused amenities, Gilbert’s apartments offer more elbow room, averaging over 1,000 square feet in size, approximately 250 square feet larger than those in the non-luxury category, Gatea said.
Luxury apartments in Chandler and Scottsdale average 970 and 983 square feet, respectively — about 200 square feet larger than their non-luxury counterparts, she added.
What drives developers to build these apartments with resort-style amenities is that people stay as tenants longer than before, so their expectations of what their homes should offer have changed, the study finds. .
“Today’s amenity strategies are totally changing the vibe of the apartment,” said Doug Ressler, business intelligence manager for Yardi Matrix. “Tenants want the feeling of living in a house and not just another apartment, with more space to live, work and play. Renters want to feel like you’re more in a house.
The trend of tenants increasingly seeking places that offer upscale living has been amplified by the pandemic.
In order to meet the growing need for housing and inclusive environments, most cities have supported the construction of new apartments, the study adds.
In general, apartment construction in the country is on an upward trend, with 2021 being the peak year for new apartment supply – 417,000 new units entered the market last year, up 12% year-over-year, according to Gatea.
And 46% of luxury apartments in the country’s 100 largest cities were built in the past decade, she said.
An expert sees the trend of apartment buildings in the near future focusing on indoor air quality and broadband/5G networks as a selling point.
Buildings with larger units that offer more space to spread out, plus a home office, and don’t make us feel so confined if we have to go into lockdown periods will be more in demand for a while” said Robert Aydukovic, who teaches at the University of Michigan.
“Buildings in close proximity to outdoor space for distancing and recreation will perform better.
“Additionally, developers should pay attention to Gen Z preferences as millennials move out of the apartment lifestyle and seek their first or second home,” Aydukovic said. “Gen Z tends to be highly mobile, very tech-savvy, and values experiences over material objects.”