Workforce Housing: The Next Innovation Opportunity
Workforce housing is arguably one of the most significant yet overlooked sectors of the real estate rental market.
For the past decade, the multifamily industry has focused on creating housing that caters to the needs of renters by choice, rolling out new developments and innovations, while neglecting the needs of renters by necessity who live in workforce housing properties. According to CBRE research, the lack of investment in new workforce housing has contributed to a major influx of aging apartments across the country. Due to large increases in the number of renters earning less than $75,000 annually and dwindling supply, workforce housing rent growth has outpaced high-end multifamily since 2018 (CBRE Source).
Common prides itself on offering high-quality housing options for professionals in cities. Even with this experience operating an attainably priced product, we were surprised at the number of renters in the missing middle that were outside our reach. This sobering realization pushed our team to research how we could provide housing options better suited to the needs and lifestyles of everyday working people.
Extensive research has led us to create a workforce housing product that combines the tech-forward and human-first innovations of our coliving brand with the needs and lifestyles of workforce housing residents.
The plight of the “missing middle”
In the United States, there are 13.5 million renters earning 60 to 120 percent of the area median income. These renters are often referred to as the missing middle because they earn too much money to qualify for subsidized housing, but can’t afford standard city apartments as rental prices rapidly increase. Workforce housing renters represent a diverse group of integral community members such as health care professionals, teachers, police officers, retail employees, firefighters, cooks, and other service industry professionals.
The harsh reality is that many people in this rental bracket have to choose between a quality apartment far away from work and their child’s school or an old, poorly maintained unit with a reasonable commute. When developers focus exclusively on developing luxury-style condos and apartments, they are unknowingly pushing out the very people who keep these communities running smoothly.
How Common is working to solve the problem
Common is bringing our human-first rental management expertise and tech-enabled operations beyond coliving to workforce housing with a new platform: Noah.
Common’s founder and CEO Brad Hargreaves commented on the decision, “Since 2015, Common has made renting more convenient and a better value with our thoughtful design, technology, and data-driven operations. Renters everywhere, both in and outside of cities, deserve a well-maintained apartment and enriching community to call home.”Noah is not your average workforce housing operator. The brand focuses on combining modern-day quality and safety standards with the latest technology to offer everyday people the apartment they deserve at a price that makes sense. Noah partners with real estate developers and investors to refresh existing buildings and implement a new standard of resident-friendly property management that leverages on-site staff, centralized operations, and time-saving technology.
Noah ensures that residents have a hassle-free rental experience with access to amenities and perks that make their lives easier. These perks include access to student loan advisory services, prescription discounts, passive savings and investing plans, security deposit-free rent, convenient mobile rent payments via the Noah app, and more.
As the world becomes increasingly digital, community interaction is also coming online, especially as the world is forced to undergo major changes for COVID-19 safety measures. Traditional workforce property managers lack the ability to adopt new virtual technology quickly. Meanwhile, Noah utilizes all the technology-based resources that set Common apart from your typical multifamily operator including virtual tours, chatbot-based support, online payments, and cost-saving brand digital partnerships.
Learn more about Noah and workforce housing
Noah has 8,000+ units expected under management by end of 2022, and currently operates three buildings in Hampton Roads with another two buildings opening in northern Virginia this April. For more information about Noah, visit www.noahapartments.com or follow us at @noahapartments on Instagram.