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Apartment Amenities vs. Climate Change

Apartment buildings offer different sets of amenities to their residents. Amenities can be either simple or large varying from a single microwave to an oversized swimming pool. These apartment amenities may include basic features, recreational spaces, and building features related to the residents' needs. The set of amenities offered by each apartment building may reflect the needs of potential residents, the attractiveness of an amenity in the area, and constraints such as weather conditions. This article explores the type of amenities that are offered by apartment buildings and examines how the type of amenities may vary across regions.

Heating and cooling systems are basic amenities, but not offered by all apartments. For example, the map below shows the spatial pattern of apartments offering air conditioners -- darker colors indicate that most of the apartments have air conditioners. As expected, we see that air conditioners are a must-have amenity in regions such as Arizona and Texas. Less than 60% of the apartments in Seattle and Portland offer air conditioners. This is interesting as it reflects the 'generally' cool weather condition in the northern-west part of the country. However, developers may consider the fact that we are witnessing climate change and that the preferences of their potential residents may change. For instance, the temperature in Portland went up to higher than 90°F this year.

The map below shows the case of swimming pools. Again, we see that more apartments in the southern part of the country are providing pools to their residents. For example, most apartments in Seattle and Chicago do not offer pools probably due to the rainy and snowy seasons. It may not hurt a developer in Portland if he/she decides not to have a pool. However, deciding not to have a pool may make their apartment less attractive in California or Texas.

Lastly, we present the case of fitness centers. Unlike the two examples introduced above, the spatial pattern seems less interpretable, if not random. Apartment housing developers may want to check if their competitors are offering fitness centers to their residents if they do not have one. Understanding the differences in the type of amenities provided by apartments may reflect the lifestyle and preferences of the population.

The type of amenities offered is one significant factor that leads to higher or lower rent. Having a better understanding of apartment amenities may help developers. It suggests a new angle for thinking about their residents' preferences and how their competitors are making efforts to make their housing more attractive.

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