40 Years of Change – Where the Multihousing Industry Is Headed in the Valley 

by R. Chapin Bell

Starting out as a necessary form of housing in the Valley, the multihousing industry has evolved to be a go-to choice for residents, which has helped keep the health of this industry strong. There has always been demand for apartments, but demand has risen as a result of demographic changes and as the renters of choice have increased. Expect the market to remain strong; rent growth has slowed, but continues to be on the rise. 

From Past to Present 

Forty years ago, luxury apartment communities had a different meaning from what they do today. Luxury then meant communities offered a small exercise room, a swimming pool and maybe a spa or charcoal BBQ. Individual apartments often had avocado green shag carpet and butcher-block Formica countertops. Now that apartment communities are more of a choice for people instead of a necessity, the term “luxury” means communities offer state-of-the-art gyms, dog spas, resort-style pools, social areas and much more. Individual apartment homes now offer granite countertops, custom cabinets, kitchen tile back splashes, hardwood faux floor and more. 

Today, management companies such as P.B. Bell can manage multiple communities with dedicated staff who not only take care of leasing and maintenance duties, but often act as personal concierges. Four decades ago, communities were managed individually, usually by a husband-and-wife team.

Trends Seen Today 

Today, it’s all about amenities — the latest and greatest communities have to offer. Convenience is the name of the game, hence the explosion of 24-hour gyms, and clubhouses with their own social scene where residents can invite friends and family. Apartments are now viewed as homes rather than a small space to live in, and, because of this, residents are looking for well-appointed apartment homes where they can entertain without the hassle of taking care of an actual home. With technology advances, communities are incorporating “Smart Home” gadgets that include smart thermostats, entry door locks operated by smart phones and more. 

P.B. Bell has also noticed that there are new players in the multihousing industry, including national home builders.

From Present to Future 

Although amenity wars will continue, one trend gathering speed in the Valley is single-story detached rentals. The industry is meeting a demand that the hassle-free living apartments provide, with the luxury of having a single family detached home. This design has been successful for people who still want to rent but not have neighbors above, below or next to them.

R. Chapin Bell is president and CEO of P.B. Bell, a family-owned multifamily development, management and acquisition company, headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., that has earned multiple awards for its design, development and management services throughout the years since Philip Bell founded the company in 1976. 

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