Apartment firms are increasingly using technology to recruit and retain residents and employees, improve their ability to serve existing residents, and streamline their operations and costs, according to a recent survey by the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC).

The NMHC’s Information Technology Investment Benchmarking Survey offers data that allows apartment firms to compare their information technology (IT) spending and staffing levels with those of their peers.

Some of the survey’s key findings include:

• Respondents spend 0.7 percent of their gross revenue on IT (not including telecommunications services offered at the property level). Of that, approximately 19 percent is spent on discretionary projects intended to improve revenue. Nearly 20 percent is spent on consultants, and 12.6 percent is spent on outsourcing.

• The smallest firms (gross revenues averaging $35 million) spend nearly 60 percent of their IT budgets on external resources—30 percent on outsourcing and 27 percent on consultants. Contrast that to firms with an average of $377 million in gross revenues, where outsourcing accounts for just 3 percent of their IT budget and consultants account for 15 percent. 

• When analyzed on a “spending-per-unit” basis, medium-sized firms (15,000 to 29,000 units) have the largest IT expenditures, spending $243 per unit. The largest firms (70,000 units or more) spend just $75 per unit on IT-related expenses, and smaller firms (9,000 to 14,999 units) spend $71 per unit.

• In terms of staffing, apartment firms average one IT staff person for every 110 employees. Those numbers jump when looking strictly at IT Help Desk staffing levels.  On average, firms provide one IT Help Desk staff person for every 172 employees. 

NMHC members can access the survey at www.nmhc.org/goto/4966