Trends That Are Radically Disrupting Housing

Many signs indicate that the housing industry is coming to the verge of a massive disruption process.

Earlier this year, the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) released a disruption report that explores how tech advances and shifting demographics will have an impact on housing, and the implications of apartments in the future.

“If you look at other industries in real estate, [such as] office, hospitality, retail—they’ve all been disrupted,” says National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) vice president of industry technology initiatives Rick Haughey, in the report. “Why should we think we’re exempt from this disruption? If you’re not thinking about it and talking about it, you’re at risk of being displaced.”

Below are some of the report’s key takeaways.


Smart home developments will cause technology to become part of the vital infrastructure of apartment communities.

  • Gartner, a research firm, predicts that 26 billion devices will be connected via the cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Donald Davidoff, president of the D2 Demand Solutions, a multifamily sales consultancy, described artificial intelligence as “the single biggest change that will affect us”, comparing its impact on white-collar workers to that of the Industrial Revolution’s impact on blue-collar workers.
  • 65% of US adults say that within the next 20 years, most deliveries in cities will (12%) or probably will (53%) be made by drones rather than humans.


Consumer expectation has shifted to on-demand delivery of goods and services, making lifestyle in communities a more intense focus.

  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents to the NMHC 2018 Consumer Housing Insights Survey described their lives as hectic, and wanted ways to make things easier.
  • By 2023, experts believe that ninety percent of the U.S. population will be connected to smartphones.
  • The 2017 State of the Connected Customer survey by indicates that 72% of consumers and 89% of business buyers expect companies to be aware of their unique needs and expectations.


Developers are likely going to be forced to serve a greater variety of households and housing needs as demographics change.

  • Immigration trends are a better information for the apartment industry to study than millennials. The US population is also becoming older and more diverse.
  • 58.6% of the net increase in renter households between 2006 and 2016 was a result of the 73 million baby boomers in the United States, according to NMHC tabulations of U.S. Census data.
  • Immigration will surpass internal population growth for the first time by 2024, Hoyt Advisory research reports. Immigrant families rent more often than native-born Americans, with a household size to include four or more people on average.


The way people work is changing thanks to Mobile technology and wireless Internet, with more people teleworking than ever before.

Some 43% of US-based workers telecommute at least in part, according to Gallup, and more would choose to do so if they could.

There has been a 50% spike in offline alternative work such as independent contractors, on-call workers, temps, and so on.

Forty percent of those who responded to the 2018 Consumer Housing Insights Survey reported planning to telecommute more in the future.

Small Business Labs discovered that over 1 million people sought a better social experience, opportunities for networking, community support and learning opportunities in 2017.


A return to urban, walkable areas along with services like Uber are transforming commuting habits among residents, with personal vehicles seeing less action. This has created a need for apartment communities to determine parking needs in the future.

America has an abundance of parking spaces, three to eight per vehicle, according to the University of California.

  • The ride-share industry is exploding, and Goldman Sachs believes it will grow to $285 billion by 2030.
  • Up to 75 billion square feet of parking spaces may be eliminated, opening up the question of what will become of the space.


Residents are looking for spaces that promote wellness, and are putting a greater focus on mental and physical health.

  • Ninety-two percent of renters in the NMHC 2018 Consumer Housing Insights Survey reported wanting an environment that would make better sleep possible.
  • A 2017 survey by the American Psychological Association found that almost nine out of 10 people (86%) who said they were constantly or often checking their email, texts, and social media accounts reported higher stress levels.
  • Sound attenuation matters, as 91% of renters say soundproof walls are important to them.