Much has been discussed regarding post-pandemic multifamily trends and the increasing demand for new, innovative housing solutions. Several of our clients have explored new concepts and aesthetics using creative systems and new materials, successfully recognizing the evolving needs of residents by developing modern, multi-functional solutions. 

Hybrid Work Needs 

Since the pandemic, migration patterns show that rental apartments have become the primary residence of choice for many single-family homeowners, which can be attributed to the national remote-working adoption. 

Decoupling the importance of home proximity to a physical employment location has disrupted the live-work paradigm, shifting apartment dwellers’ living requirements to the variety of amenities of a living space, as it pertains to an increased need for a hybrid work environment.  

Home offices, meeting rooms, zoom rooms, high speed internet access, and co-working spaces are expected in new buildings, and older projects are retrofitting these amenities into their program as they renovate and refresh.  

Due to increased time spent in the home, residents want bigger spaces; with full-size in-unit washer/dryers as opposed to small stackable units in a closet, upscaled bathrooms, and kitchens that include amenities typically found in high-end single-family homes.  

Wellness and Outdoor Activity Spaces 

A common theme is indoor-outdoor focused, healthy, and maintenance-optimized spaces using resilient systems with integrated next generation technologies. 

Fitness areas are being designed for functional Cross-Fit training with roll-up or sliding doors that open out to a grass area for outdoor activities. 

Pet-friendly buildings have expanded their offerings well beyond washing stations and dog parks to include grooming and walking services, as well as doggy daycare facilities. 

Package Delivery and Amenities 

The space and organization for package delivery, management, and storage have significantly impacted the street-level design of many multifamily building types. We have seen the size of mail and package rooms grow significantly, as well as creative integrations with other building functions such as libraries, lounges, zoom/blog rooms, mini office cubicles, and bicycle storage to encourage resident interaction. 

Special features such as bulletin boards, video screens, juice bars, and refrigerated cold storage to allow for food and grocery delivery services are also being introduced into the mail pickup area. 

Shared storage space where residents can rent or use things like bikes, pool toys, beach chairs or gardening tools (as opposed to everyone having to store their own) is a practical emerging amenity trend that will likely continue to grow. 

Project integration into the surrounding neighborhood can eliminate redundant services that may be found in close proximity, allowing sharing of neighborhood scale amenities and benefiting all. These could include food services, parking, co-working spaces, car share, conference rooms, health and fitness spaces, pet care, and small-scale retail. 

Supply Chain Issues Require Flexible Response 

Supply chain and material shortages have forced builders to consider material selections carefully, and limit choices to products that are readily available or can be pre-purchased and stored off-site in private warehousing. 

We, as architects, have modified our construction documentation and workflow to facilitate swapping materials and systems in order to accommodate availability and cost shifts. 

The most common request by our clients has been the ability to switch from wood to metal stud framing without changing the overall dimensions and the elevations of the floor plates. Elements such as windows, doors, and built-ins are being inserted with standard dimensions so that they can be easily swapped out if needed because of availability or cost escalation. 

We have seen a steady flow of three-story wood framed walk-up apartments, as they seem to be the most cost effective given the current construction environment, but the significant year over year rent escalation in most urban markets is making wraps and podiums practical again. 

Other Trends and Takeaways 

Themed mixed-use, “main street,” and live-work-play communities remain a popular option in secondary and tertiary development rings, and solve the problem of what to do with outdated suburban dead mall sites. 

Shifting to housing within the health and wellness market, our healthcare clients have been focused on the evolving needs of the 55+ community, innovating their offerings to include housing options that are less institutional and create a safer environment for this rapidly growing market segment.  

There has been an under-supply of new senior-oriented rental units for several years now, particularly in the lower price ranges.  

Standard amenities for student housing are being reimagined for modern needs, and more individuals are becoming renters by choice; so demand for multifamily development should remain strong well into 2023 and beyond.  

The Housing Team at Progressive AE monitors the multifamily landscape constantly for shifts and emerging trends and seeks to get feedback and updates from our national network. Please reach out with additional trends we need to pay attention to for future publications.