The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns affected industries of all sizes and strengths. As businesses shuttered and millions of people became unemployed, businesses acted fast to implement new policies, protect their employees and customers, and stay afloat. At Common, we’ve gained valuable insights into our own business model over the past 9 months as we’ve worked with renters and partners to navigate the pandemic. Here’s what we’ve learned.
Leverage new technologies before they become necessary
Long before 2020, Common set out to eliminate the friction caused by in-person touring, aiming to be so trusted that prospective tenants would sign a lease without ever setting foot in a unit. To achieve this, Common’s Sales Team became experts in virtual touring. With sleek Matterports and well-honed pitches, our specialists were well-equipped for “socially-distant” leasing.
Take accountability with applicants seriously
Since March, Common’s collection rates have remained well above national averages. With systems built to screen for high-quality and highly-accountable tenants, Common has kept collections above 96% for 20 consecutive months.
Centralized systems allow for competitive and dynamic pricing
In order to remain competitive, Common advised partners on price adjustments and concession packages. It was critical to respond quickly to market changes, and Common’s marketing engine allowed the Sales Team to effectively pull the appropriate pricing levers. Q4 2020 data indicates that net effective rents are stabilizing.
The demand for coliving still exists and is rising
In the early days of the pandemic, renewal rates declined sharply. Tenants in core urban markets were moving out to live with family, return to their countries of origin, or explore less expensive markets while working from home. However, renewal rates began to stabilize in Q3 2020 and have corrected and exceeded historical norms in recent months.
Elevated lead volume and renewal rates also indicate that Common product is selling better than ever. Added conveniences of coliving, along with sizable savings on traditional apartments, make coliving an attractive option for renters looking for affordability, community, and convenience. In fact, while occupancy rates began to decline in March 2020 in line with broader markets as renters fled urban centers, forecasts predict that portfolio-wide occupancy will return to pre-COVID rates in 2021.