With virtually any tech innovation, a primary objective is to make it as universally accessible as possible. A cellphone provider that only has service on coastal markets or smart locks that only work with iPhones probably won’t have widespread impact.
The same holds true for property management systems. In order to be a truly comprehensive operating system, the platform can’t contain an abundance of niche features that only work in limited locales or for certain types of properties. While it’s OK to have a few niche features of the add-on variety, the primary components of a successful operating system should be more universal.
Most of the industry’s leading providers are keenly aware of this concept and diligently work to make their platforms accessible to all reaches of the U.S. But few have looked beyond our borders to expand the product internationally.
That’s what makes Entrata’s recent expansion into Canada unique, but it wasn’t done without a measured approach and, naturally, a bevy of data crunching. The pandemic reshaped living and working habits across the globe, and while many took note of the ever-shifting landscape in the U.S., Entrata also intensely analyzed Canadian renter trends.
A few of the key takeaways from north of the border:
Canadians are on the move: A high percentage of Canadian renters moved within the last year, and the trend doesn’t appear bound to dissipate any time soon. Entrata’s study found that roughly a third of Canadian renters moved at some point within the last year and about half are planning to move once their current lease is up. More than one-third of those who moved defined their move as “short-term,” indicating they plan to move again within a year.
As for what could be spurring this mass movement, 47% of respondents indicated they value living closer to their family as a result of the pandemic. Meanwhile, 43% said they are in need of more space, ostensibly to accommodate for work-from-home needs in many cases, and 39% revealed they have experienced a loss of or change in a job within the last year.
Homeownership ambitions remain strong: While 67% of Canadian renters say that renting fits their current lifestyle, a hefty 45% indicated that they wish to discontinue renting and own a home within the next three years.
Perhaps factoring into that decision is that 39% of renters said that the pandemic caused them to rethink where they live and why.
The electronic wave: It was only a matter of time, but electronic rent payments now have slightly surpassed traditional payments and have become the majority share in Canada. A strong majority, 81% of Canadian renters, rank electronic payments as their preferred payment type, so the number of actual online payments will likely continue to rise.
Canadian renters’ overwhelming preference for digital payment options is further aided by the belief that they are more secure than traditional forms of payment, which underscores the importance of a modern payment system and platform.
Canadian renters also are heavily gravitating toward mobile apps, as 53% used an app for some type of apartment-related service in the past year, including 39% for rent payments.
Practical amenities: With renters spending more time at home than ever before, the importance of onsite amenities has increased—and has shifted toward more practical offerings. According to the survey, the most crucial onsite amenity for Canadian apartment renters is high-speed internet, cited by 87% of respondents. Controlled and secure building access (81%) and in-home laundry (74%) also were prominently craved.
Among smart home features, keyless entry (59%) and smart thermostats (57%) were the most desired, according to the study.
In expanding to the Canadian market, Entrata was meticulous about observing the nuances in the market and tailoring the platform offerings accordingly. It’s a step we’ll always take as we further expand our international offerings in the future.