Survival of the Fittest: Where are Gyms the most Common Apartment Amenity?

Continuing our theme of exploring the national rental market, this week we’re turning our attention to amenities. While the first rule of real estate may be “location, location, location,” amenities aren’t too far behind in importance. In rental units, they can make all the difference. Although it may not be the first amenity to come to mind, a gym or fitness room in the building can be very convenient. It would seem to follow that the more extreme the weather or the more metropolitan the city, the more convenient this amenity can be.  If you live in a city with inclement weather, for example, the allure of a gym indoors can be just enough incentive to maintain a workout routine. Or if you live in a city with limited space for outdoor activities, this amenity could be a godsend.  In fact, google search trends substantiate this by strongly correlating searches for gyms with large metro areas (see below).

Google Search Interest Gyms

Google Search Trends Topic interest in Gyms

But while google search trends are one measure of seeing how interest in gyms differ geographically, we thought we’d take this line of inquiry a step farther. Namely, how popular are gyms as an apartment amenity in different cities around the country? We accomplished this by using Kwelia’s nationwide listing database to scan recent listings through the first quarter of 2015.  Using these listings, we were able to calculate the proportion of them with gyms by metropolitan area in the first quarter of 2015. Below are the 10 metropolitan areas (listings > 2000) with the highest proportion of listings with gyms.

As we can see above, nearly 30% of all rental listings in Dayton, OH advertise a gym. Notably, none of these cities is particularly temperate — many have cold winters, hot summers, or frequent rain.

Taking all of the metropolitan areas together, how do the states compare? Are there any regional patterns?

Frequency of gyms in listings by state:

A number of states in the South stand out in particular, as well as Washington state. As seen in the list above, WA has more than one city in the top-10 by listing frequency. Seattle may be known as an outdoorsy city, but that may just lead to greater interest in the gym during the rainy winter months.

Lastly, to avoid a classic error, let’s take a look at the states by total number of listings.

Total number of listings by state:

Now we can see that the gym frequency map above is not simply a population density map, but rather that there are some regions with greater proportions of apartments with gyms. Stay tuned for a look at more amenities, including doormen, granite, and stainless steel.

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