Apartment communities with fitness centers hit all-time high during past decade
- March 1, 2020: Vol. 7, Number 3

Apartment communities with fitness centers hit all-time high during past decade

by Mike Consol

Gyms and other fitness amenities are in demand from tenants, and real estate developers are offering a muscular response to that mandate. RENTCafe, a division of Yardi Matrix, has issued a report that found in 2019 some 92 percent of new rental buildings came with some type of gym or fitness amenity — and during the past decade gyms have been a regular fixture in around 90 percent of new apartment buildings.

That compares favorably to the 1970s when only about 30 percent of new buildings had a fitness facility.

“The importance of such an amenity within residential buildings these days is unquestionable,” the report says.

In response to the trend toward working out, two-thirds of large U.S. apartment buildings now have a fitness center on the premises.

A recent RENTCafe survey of more than 3,000 renters searching for apartments found that 47 percent said they were interested in renting in an apartment community with a gym or fitness center. What’s more, for 28 percent of those renters, the lack of an onsite gym was a deal-breaker. The insistence on a fitness facility was based on three primary factors: convenience, cost and motivation.

Regarding motivation, a RENTCafe blog post on the subject noted: “Many people start the new year with big plans to get fit. While some manage to carry out this resolution, others don’t make it past a couple of miles on the treadmill or a couple of months at the gym. One major success factor in working out is how easy it is to get to the gym. If you could walk out of your apartment and step right into the gym, that would definitely help. Well, it seems that increasingly, apartment buildings are doing just that: bringing the gym to you.”

Having a gym in your apartment building has become a given at top-of-the-line multifamily properties, making exercise a more convenient and frequent activity. The more lux the apartment building, the higher the probability of a fitness facility. Witness that 96 percent of class A apartment buildings have a gym.

When it comes to paying for the convenience of an onsite fitness center, 56 percent of the renters surveyed indicated they were not willing to pay extra for an on-site gym, while 32 percent said they would pay up to $100 extra, and 2 percent indicated they were willing to pay $300 or more. Compared to the national average rent of $1,473, the average cost to rent in buildings with an onsite gym is $1,530 — a difference of just $57 per month.

Meanwhile, an offsite gym membership can range from $10 to $50 or more per month, depending on the type of gym and membership you choose. Although the difference in rent is not solely due to the presence of a fitness center, it is important to note that nicer amenities bring higher rents.

For example, the report says, some buildings offer a basic gym with cardio and weight-lifting equipment. Others have a fitness center with varied equipment and classes, such as yoga or Pilates. Still others offer a full-fledged health and wellness club with an expansive, fully equipped fitness center, pool, spa, personal trainers and recovery rooms.


Mike Consol ( is editor of Real Assets Adviser. Follow him on Twitter @mikeconsol to read his latest postings.

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