Thursday, September 03, 2009

Is Internet Access Just an Expectation?

Last week, Apartment Guide released a list of the highest ranking apartment features and community amenities that consumers searched for on over the past six months (from February 2009 to August 2009). Here are the results:

  1. In-Unit Washer and Dryer
  2. Pets (allowed)
  3. Air Conditioning
  4. Some Paid Utilities
  5. Washer and Dryer Connections
  6. Dishwasher
  7. Balcony
  8. Garage
  9. Cable Ready
  10. Furnished Available
  11. Swimming Pool
  12. Short-Term Lease Available
  13. Fitness Center
  14. Gated Access
  15. Oversized Closets
Here's what surprised me most: Wi-Fi, or even wired Internet access, didn't even make the list. (To be fair, it did make the list over at

Over 74% of the U.S. population is online, yet renters don't need Internet in their apartment? (About 85% of the population pays for TV service from a cable, satellite or telco provider.)

This doesn't make sense to me, unless Internet access has finally become an expected utility, rather than an amenity. Heat didn't make the list. Water didn't make the list. Electricity didn't make the list. Now, Internet access doesn't make the list. (Just a couple years ago, Wi-Fi was touted as a "must-have amenity" ... I would argue it still is.)

What do you make of this? What are you seeing in the market? Is Internet access not as important, especially if apartment hunters are "being mindful of their budgets," or has it become such an expectation that searchers don't even think to list it as a requirement?

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