The Real Deal New York

Shocker: Renters like having a gym much more than they like using the gym

Although 82% say an on-site gym is important, 42% say they rarely or never use it
January 04, 2018 10:45AM

In theory, communism works, and renters love having an on-site fitness center in their buildings. In practice, not so much.

A recent survey from the National Multifamily Housing Council and Kingsley Associates found that while 82 percent of U.S. renters said having an on-site gym is important to them and 55 percent said they wouldn’t rent in a building without one, 42 percent said they either rarely or never actually use these fitness centers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The survey looked at 272,743 tenants in 4,795 rental complexes across the country and focused on what perks they look for in their buildings and how much they are willing to pay for them. Gyms have become a fairly common perk, with 91 percent of respondents saying they live in a building that has one.

Ulrike Malmendier, an economics professor at University of California, Berkeley, co-authored a study in 2006 finding that most people overestimate how often they will go to the gym and told the Journal she was not surprised by the new survey’s findings.

“I think the phenomenon we documented is very robust and very pervasive,” she said, adding that people “are often still too optimistic about how much use they will make of [fitness centers].”

In 2013, appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel estimated that the presence of a gym in a New York City building adds less than 5 percent to an apartment’s total value.

A previous report from the National Multifamily Housing Council with the National Apartment Association found that New York will need 279,000 new apartments by 2030 to keep up with demand.  [WSJ]Eddie Small