Mobility's impact on multifamily rents

Posted by Rachel Karitis on 4/27/18 10:45 AM

We've suggested before that proximity to public transit is a bigger factor in searching for a multifamily apartment than in traditional home-buying. Now, we've got the data to back it all up.

Our friends over at RCLCO did some amazing research into the effect mobility has on apartment rents, looking at nearly 40,000 communities with approximately nine million units across the country, and we're excited to share some of our biggest takeaways from it here. We also recommend reading the report in full over on RCLCO.

"Among communities built since 2010 across the country, those with Excellent Mobility achieve rents that are 59% higher than average and communities with Good Mobility achieve rents 22% higher than average. Part of the difference is because markets with higher average MobilityScores also tend to be higher cost, but the relationship is not just a New York or Boston phenomenon."  

So much of what gives an apartment (or, frankly, a commercial office building, or a retail store, or a hotel... you get the picture) value is its location. More specifically, its location in relation to other locations you'd like to be, and therefore how easy it is to get to those places via public transit and private mobility services. Thus: MobilityScore.

"Nationally, among apartment communities built since 2010, a 10% increase in MobilityScore is correlated with an increase of $0.12 per square foot. A 10% increase in locations with higher initial MobilityScore would have even higher rent increases."

According to RentCafe, the average 1-bedroom apartment in 2016 was 752 square feet, meaning a 10% increase in MobilityScore yields an average of $90 higher rent. For the average 2-bedroom, it's even higher — an average of $135 more.

The more options made available near an apartment building, the more attractive the location becomes. For real estate owners and property managers, this is great news — you can't do a lot about adding a bus stop, but you can do something about making other mobility options more available to your residents.

Spin Dockless Bikeshare at World Bank OfficeThe dedicated Spin dockless bikeshare pod at the World Bank Group office. (Image courtesy Daniel Warwick, RCLCO)

We've discussed potential options here before (adding a shuttle, making the information easier to access), and these were all echoed in the study. It's also important to consider the market itself: bikesharing would make the biggest impact in Portland, but ridehailing would make the biggest impact in Seattle.

Interested in learning more? You can always contact us or RCLCO to get details on this study or on how you can put these learnings into practice at your properties.

Topics: Real Estate, MobilityScore