According to the article, “U.S. Apartment Owners See Profit Potential in Pooches” by Dawn Wotapka, on Nasdaq.com, apartments owners across the country are implementing dog friendly policies in order to attract and retain tenants. Many in the industry are attributing the shift towards dog friendly properties to an increase in competition from new construction and changing demographics.
In the article, Mark Humphreys, an architect who designs apartments for a few of the nation’s real-estate investment trusts, says 75% of the communities he designs include dog parks, which is up from 15% three years ago.
Some landlords are opting to adopt less strict policies. Landmark Apartment Trust of America used to prohibit dogs over 10lbs, but due to competition they no longer have the restriction in place. “We could continue to say ‘no’ and lose them to our competitors,” said Jay Olander, Landmark’s chief executive.
Camden Property Trust (CPT), a publicly traded apartment owner with around 70,000 units nationwide also no longer have size limits for dogs. In most of their new developments dog parks and washing stations are being added. “It’s become a real marketing thing and a point of differentiation,” said Chief Executive Ric Campo “If a property doesn’t have it, it’s sort of old school.”
Many landlords used to view pets, in particular dogs, as an annoyance to neighbors and felt they were too prone to damage property. Now, there’s a sense that landlords have to allow them, especially in order to attract the younger renters who tend to marry later and stay longer. In addition, landlords are competing with an abundance of new properties being built due to the housing collapse, which lead to an influx of renters to the market.
Zelman & Associates, an equity-research firm, said it expects 235,000 units to begin construction this year, with 285,000 to start in 2013 and 320,000 in 2014.
Some aren’t buying into the bark. “Dog parks and amenities like that are working now and are attractive to a business that is having no trouble attracting demand from potential renters, but it’s not always going to be like that,” said Rich Anderson, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets.