Trade groups extend campaign to promote apartment living

The groups claim that there are more than 37 million Americans—12% of the population—living in just under 20 million apartment units nationwide. Apartments and their residents contribute $1.3 trillion annually to the economy.

May 01, 2015 |
Trade groups extend campaign to promote apartment living

According to research from George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis, apartments contribute more to the New York metropolitan area’s economy—$111.5 billion annually—than in any other market. Screen shot: WeAreApartments.com

The National Multifamily Housing Council and the National Apartment Association launched the latest phase of “WeAreApartments,” a marketing campaign that promotes the importance of the apartment industry to the U.S. economy.

Using research from George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis, the groups claim that there are more than 37 million Americans—12% of the population—living in just under 20 million apartment units nationwide. Apartments and their residents contribute $1.3 trillion annually to the economy through construction, property management, and other jobs the industry supports.

This research provides some interesting factoids about the apartment sector: For example, 49% are one-person households, compared to 24% of apartments with three or more people in them. The highest portion of apartment buildings—27%—has either 50 units or more, or a between five and nine units. The apartment housing stock is aging, too: more than half was built between 1959 and 1979.

The campaign contends that the country needs between 300,000 and 400,000 new apartments each year to keep up with demand. 

Apartments contribute more to the New York metropolitan area’s economy—$111.5 billion annually—than in any other market. Multifamily accounted for 44% of residential permits issued in Dallas-Fort Worth last year. And $2.3 billion was spent on apartment construction in Los Angeles.

(The campaign’s website includes an Apartment Community Estimator, which allows metros and states to figure out the economic construction from the apartment sector in their respective areas.)

The campaign contends that the country needs between 300,000 and 400,000 new apartments each year to keep up with demand. “What construction has accelerated in response, many communities still lack sufficient housing options,” it reports.

To get its message out, the groups sponsoring this campaign have devised a new series of print and online ads that attempts to get beyond perceived stereotypes about apartment dwellers. For example, one ad shows a young African-American woman sitting in the kitchen of her apartment. The ad describes her as “Botanist. Swim Coach. Pickle Easter. Renter,” followed by the campaign’s tagline “Apartments. We Live Her.” Another ad states humorously that “Liberals Live In Them. So Do Conservatives, But In Another Wing.”

One of the campaign’s more provocative messages is that apartment dwellers are fulfilling their “The American Dream.” That phrase, heretofore, had been reserved for homeownership, but younger Americans’ avidity for owning a house is still uncertain.

Overlay Init