Building construction

Originally posted by Phillip Molnar | Jan. 18, 2016 discusses what SD renters favor in their local market.

San Diego renters care more about being close to a bar than public transit or a school, said a study by the National Multifamily Housing Council.

The council interviewed nearly 120,000 people across the United States to find out what amenities renters are looking for, in part, because of the rise in apartment living. As it did in 2013, the nonprofit industry association also completed a specific report on San Diego that interviewed 1,810 renters in August last year.

In general, San Diego County renters, like the rest of the nation, value Internet tools for paying rent or communication with their landlords, said the report released last week.

But San Diegans differed from other U.S. renters on domestic appliances. A majority, 94 percent, want a washer and dryer in their unit versus 87 percent nationally.

Also, San Diego sure likes its pets. Forty one percent of local renters had a cat or dog — 8 percentage points more than the nation.

These are the things most important to San Diego renters:

Washer/dryer in unit: On a scale of 1 (not interested at all) to 5 (very interested), this amenity scored a mean rating of 4.78.

Internet: Ninety-four percent of respondents said they wanted high-speed Internet access, up from 88 percent in 2013. It did not specify if they expected a landlord to provide this or just wanted the service available in their area.

Popular features: Patio or balcony (91 percent), walk-in closet (90 percent) and microwave (88 percent).

Location: In an ideal situation, 75 percent of renters said being within walking distance of a grocery store was preferred. Other important walkable destinations were a restaurant (61 percent), work (34 percent), bar (28 percent), public transit (27 percent) and schools (22 percent).

Electronically rent payment: It was extremely important for San Diegans to use the Internet with 76 percent preferring to pay their rent this way.

Parking: This was the most important community feature for respondents at 95 percent. It was followed by a pool at 86 percent.

Borre Winckel, president and CEO of the local Building Industry Association, said he could not say for sure why washer and dryers were so important but that it could be related to healthy lifestyles so popular in San Diego.

“San Diego young people love healthy living, exercise, working out,” he said. “This means more stuff that needs to go in the laundry.”

Preferred within walking 
distance for renters

Grocery store: S.D. 75%
U.S. 70%
Restaurant: S.D. 61%, 
U.S. 58%
Work: S.D. 34%, 
U.S. 36%
Public transit: S.D. 27%
U.S. 34%
Bar: S.D. 28%, 
U.S. 32%
School: S.D. 22%, 
U.S. 17%

National Multifamily 
Housing Council, 
Kingsley Associates

Winckel acknowledged renters could have become more accustomed to the appliances in apartments targeted to eventually become condos, but that the phenomenon was not unique to San Diego.

Realtor Jason Cassity, who works with sellers and renters at City Consulting Group downtown, said location and proximity to services is a higher priority for renters than homeowners.

“Someone who is willing to buy a place might see the value in maybe being a couple miles further away from the hot spots to have the value of owning,” he said. “But, for renters, if they are going to pay these high prices, they want everything within walking distance.”

Most respondents said they had lived in their apartments one to three years (35 percent) and six months or less (29 percent). Nearly half of respondents said they planned to live at their place one to three years.

Despite rising home and rent prices, 67 percent said they see themselves owning a home in five years. About the same percentage wanted to own a home in the neighborhood similar to where they were renting.

About 41 percent of San Diego renters said they had previously owned a home, probably a consequence of the Great Recession.

Almost half of respondents said they paid $1,301 to $1,900 a month in rent, which was in line with average rental prices.

Yelp and other review sites seem to hold less weight for San Diegans over the national average with 51 percent of renters saying a website stopped them from visiting a community. Nationally, 54 percent said opinion sites kept them from visiting.

One thing San Diego renters really do not want is a call from their landlord. Email is the preferred method, at 86 percent, and just 8 percent requested a phone call.

There were more female renters, 54 percent, than male renters in San Diego, and 60 percent of renters were 25 to 44 years old, the council report said.

San Diegans spent $9.4 billion in rent in 2015, according to a study from real estate website Zillow.

This article was originally published in the San Diego Union Tribune and can be found HERE.