The Smart Money: Smart Tech in MDUs

Aug. 8, 2022
IoT-based and other smart amenities in apartments translate to higher profits for both building owners and security providers

This article originally appeared in the August 2022 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.

The future of housing is connected. Consumers increasingly expect their homes to have smart solutions that are convenient, green, secure, and built upon a reliable and high-performing home network. Multi-dwelling unit (MDU) property owners and managers – made up of smart apartments and smart condominiums, senior living, and student housing – are evaluating and investing in technology that opens a new generation of property management and resident experience.

Parks Associates’ definition of MDU residents includes consumers owning and living in their units and those renting a unit from a building owner. Both groups of residents are interested in tested amenities; however, unit owners over-index in their adoption of property-provided smart home devices. The research firm also reports that 42% of people who own their MDU unit report that their property pre-installed at least one smart home device in their home. Only 10% of renters claimed the same.

Parks Associates defines “smart apartments” as MDUs that include IoT technology in residential units and across the property. They include a variety of smart amenities and features aimed at residents, staff, and owners.

The American Community Survey finds that there were approximately 120M occupied housing units in 2020, with over 31M occupied apartment units and 7.5M condominium or townhome units. Property technology, including bulk broadband, platforms, and connected devices, is an emerging market with tremendous opportunities within these areas.

Demographically speaking, MDU residents are younger than those in single-family households and frequently more technologically adept. MDUs appealing to higher-income residents in particular – such as professionals working remotely – can expect their residents to index exceptionally high on the technology adoption scale and be more interested in amenities such as smart apartment devices, high-speed internet services, and dedicated office spaces as a result. Smart apartment residents are keenly interested in use cases related to safety, security, and energy management.

The rental market is ripe for the introduction of smart apartment solutions. Over half of MDU renters are willing to pay higher rates for apartments with smart capabilities and amenities. One-third of MDU renters report they are willing to pay an additional 15% per month, a rate consistent with property manager expectations. Almost two-thirds of prospective MDU tenants report that pre-installation of smart home devices is an essential factor when selecting a new home.

Almost two-thirds of prospective multi-dwelling unit (MDU) residents report that the pre-installation of smart home devices is important when selecting a new home. Parks Associates reports that 34% of MDU property managers currently offer internet-connected or smart home devices to residents in at least one property they manage. Additionally, 96% of recent smart home device deployments in MDUs were made fewer than five years ago.

Kristen Hanich is Director of Research for Parks Associates. Download the complimentary whitepaper, Doing IoT Right: Top Practices for Multi-Dwelling Units at