Amidst growing dog ownership in the US, residential buildings, including affordable ones here are increasingly providing luxury pet amenities in a bid to entice renters and buyers devoted to the four-legged members of their families.
When ‘pet spas’ were introduced in high-end residential buildings nearly a decade ago, they might have seemed like another flash-in-the-pan perk. But they’ve not only hung on like a dog with a bone, they’ve also evolved, The New York Times reported.
Slop sinks for pet washdowns have been replaced by gleaming professional-grade tubs. Closet-size spaces have expanded into sprawling facilities where pooches enjoy ‘cage-free’ day care and work off paunches on treadmills, not to mention getting dolled up in the latest hairdos.
While these facilities are still most often associated with upscale developments, they are beginning to show up in affordable housing, too, the report said.
“First they didn’t exist; then they existed; now they’re more thoughtfully designed,” said Rachel MacCleery, a senior vice president of the Urban Land Institute, a research organisation, which has tracked the pet amenities trend.
Pet amenities first began cropping up around the United States in the early 2000s, she said, and proliferated as the real estate industry recovered after the recession.
Nationwide, dog ownership is climbing, fueled in part by millennials who are postponing marriage and child-rearing and getting a pet instead.
The American Pet Products Association found in its most recent pet-owner study that 44 per cent of American households, or more than 54 million, own at least one dog, up from 38 per cent, or 35 million, in 1990.
Elaine Tross, an associate broker at Halstead Property who runs a website called Pet-Friendly Manhattan Real Estate, estimated that about 50 per cent of residential buildings in New York today allow dogs, with condominiums and co-ops generally more pet-friendly than rentals.
Buildings often apply restrictions on breed and weight and charge pet fees, which MacCleery, of the Urban Land Institute, calls a new revenue source for buildings. Some real estate companies are not only allowing pets, they’re catering to them.
The Related Companies, after experimenting with small, unstaffed grooming stations in a couple of its buildings in New York about a decade ago, has been rolling out its own proprietary programme, called Dog City, in its properties, offering day care, training and weekly visits from groomers and veterinarians.
“It’s a way of showing residents we understand their lifestyle,” the paper quoted Daria P. Salusbury, the senior vice president in charge of the company’s luxury residential leasing operations as saying.