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When people are making a decision about where to rent an apartment, high-speed access and WiFi are at the top of their minds, even more than in-room laundry facilities, according to data collected by Comcast’s Xfinity Communities division back in December. “Networking with Residents: Technology Drives the Multifamily Industry,” included input from 205 building managers, building owners, and real estate developers of multifamily properties across the United States, and 87 percent reported that technology plays either an extremely or very important role in keeping residents satisfied. Three quarters reported that the majority of new and prospective residents ask about communications services (internet, phone, TV) in their building prior to renting.

“Property managers and developers are balancing the requirement to provide sophisticated technology for their residents with the challenges of providing the latest network infrastructure,” Mike Slovin, VP of Xfinity Communities, comments. “Residents expect a high level of services, and in an increasingly competitive rental market, the need to provide new services and upgrade existing ones intensifies.”

WiFi ranked highest as the most important amenity at 34 percent, followed by high-speed internet (25 percent), and in-room laundry facilities (13 percent). Close to a third of respondents (30 percent) said they believe quality communications services boosts property values by at least 20 percent. And 89 percent cited technology as an important factor in a renters’ decision to sign or renew a lease. Tenants in the 18-34 age range prefer high-tech amenities more than residents 52 and older, according to 88 percent of the survey takers. More than eight in 10 (82 percent) of respondents indicated they install the latest technology in order to “future proof” their buildings, and 60 percent said they plan to make improvements related to energy efficiency this year.

The report also suggests that property managers and developers are investing in overall network infrastructure, with 47 percent currently managing fiber networks.

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