UKAA and Roomservice by CORT Study Tour to San Diego – June 2002

UKAA and Roomservice by CORT Study Tour Group

UKAA and Roomservice by CORT Study Tour Group ready for action


Since the recession in 2009, owning a home in the UK has become increasingly difficult for millennials who face rejections from more cautious mortgage lenders if they can’t stump up a hefty deposit. But the rise of the renter was not just a UK phenomenon, the US tracked a similar path, and today over 100 million people in the US rent a property - over 30% of the population.

With US multifamily providers entering the UK market, high-rise concierge style renting has become the benchmark, however the US market is far more diverse with single family, garden style, mid and high-rise falling under the multifamily bracket.

To gain an insight into multifamily housing, Roomservice by CORT and CORT (our US parent company) provided a study tour for UK delegates attending the NAA Apartmentalize conference in San Diego.

We visited 4 very different properties and learned a huge amount from the property managers who were both knowledgeable and passionate about their properties.


The District Apartments – managed by Greystar

The District – bedroom The District – study tour group The District – dining room

Our first stop was The District Apartments in La Mesa, built in 2010. La Mesa is a family friendly town located 9 miles east of Downtown San Diego. The mid-rise apartments are situated conveniently on a trolley stop (tram to us Europeans!) which can deliver residents into downtown San Diego in around 30 minutes.

The property is immaculate and the shared halls and amenitiy areas are serviced by an external company. The two gyms and pools are used frequently by residents. There is also a communal room which can be reserved for parties/events. The Property managers are well-known by residents and there is a real community vibe. Public parking is available below the apartment building which serves the Trolley Service. They also have electric car charging stations available. They are currently testing smart locks and smart thermostat systems controlled by the on-site office.

Homes: 526 1&2 bedroom apartments over 4 storeys.
Classification: Mid Rise - B
Rental rates: $2455-£4000 per month
Occupation level: 97%
Walkscore: 64
Pets: Yes, Deposit of $250 per pet and monthly per pet rent of $50 – breed restrictions.


The Seaton Apartments - managed by Fairfield Residential

Seaton Apartments – study tour group Seaton Apartments – shared space Seaton Apartments – reception area

Built in 2021, Seaton Apartments is a Garden development nestled in a vibrant San Diego area just minutes from coastal communities in The Bay Park neighbourhood. Each apartment is stylishly designed with a patio or balcony. Some of the properties come with a garage accessed across the hall from the property. There are also unassigned parking spaces available on the complex as well as electric car charging ports. 24/7 parcel access is available via HUB by Amazon. To keep the Apartments areas looking clean and tidy they use Valet Trash*

Homes: 150 1 & 2-bedroom apartments over 3 storeys.
Classification: Garden - B
Rental rates: $3200-$3900 per month
Occupation level: 98.7%
Walkscore: 77
Pets: Yes. Deposit of $500 per pet and monthly per pet rent of $50 – breed restrictions.


Vici Luxury Rentals - managed by HG Fenton

The Vici – reception area The Vici – study tour group The Vici – dog owner gallery

Nestled beside the North San Diego Bay, Vici Luxury Rentals is a mid-rise collection of upscale urban apartments in the culture heart of San Diego's Little Italy. Built in 2017, the ‘loft’ style designed apartments enjoy high concrete exposed ceilings and large bathrooms. The multi-use rooftop is a premium feature including a gourmet kitchen, dog park (50% of residents own a pet), yoga area, hot tub and cabanas with free local craft beer on-tap. Technology feature is the Brivo mobile pass allowing access to all community doors through a phone application.

Pets are very welcome here, with a dog walking area on the roof and a dog area in reception (complete with gallery) where your pooch can get some treats after their walk.

Number of homes : 97 Studio, 1 & 2 bedroom apartments over 7 storeys
Classification: Mid Rise - A
Rental rates $3500-£5000 per month $9000 Penthouses
Occupation level: 100%
Walkscore: 98
Pets: Yes, Deposit of $250 per pet and monthly per pet fee of $50 – no breed restrictions


525 Olive - managed by Greystar

525 Olive Street – main living area 525 Olive Street – swimming pool 525 Olive Street – swimming pool

Built in 2021, 525 Olive rises above Balboa Park and is the highest residential address in the city, with unparalleled views spanning every horizon. Wedged between Balboa Park on the east side and San Diego Airport to the west, 525 Olive is in a terrific location for those who like to travel, those who like nature, and those who want to be close to the city centre.

The centerpiece is the truly stunning rooftop retreat that spans the entire top floor of the building with a collection of indoor and outdoor spaces, a luxurious pool and spa, a state-of-the-art fitness studio, and a modern work lounge with personal Zoom conference rooms. Technology features include Stratus – A/C & blinds control, ‘Butterfly’ virtual keys for guests and ‘Package Concierge’ delivery management.

Number of homes : 204 Studio, 1, 2 & 3 bedroom apartments over 20 storeys
Classification: High Rise - A
Rental rates $3255-13,350 per month
Occupation level: 19% (opened in May 2022)
Walkscore: 90
Pets: Yes, Deposit of $400 per pet and monthly per pet fee of $50 – breed restrictions


The Takeaway

Following the pandemic, the rental trend shows no signs of slowing down. The US needs 4.6 million new apartments by 2030 to meet market demand—a construction rate not achieved since 1989.

To make the most of the burgeoning rental market in the UK, owners and managers need to understand what makes a successful multifamily/BTR property. Younger generations of renters want more out of their living experience than just a place to sleep. They want flexibility, simplicity, sustainability, unique experiences and they want it all now!


Additional resources:
Multifamily Apartment Asset Classes - Class A B C D Properties (




Many apartments are rated with a score for Walk, Transit, Bike and Sound. This enables renters to understand more about the area around the development they are looking to rent in before they book a tour.

Walk score – measures the walkability of any address

90–100 -- Walker’s Paradise
Daily errands do not require a car

70–89 -- Very Walkable
Most errands can be accomplished on foot

50–69 -- Somewhat Walkable
Some errands can be accomplished on foot

25–49 -- Car-Dependent
Most errands require a car

0–24 -- Car-Dependent
Almost all errands require a car


Transit score - measures the access of any address to public transport

90–100 -- Rider’s Paradise
World-class public transportation

70–89 -- Excellent Transit
Transit is convenient for most trips

50–69 -- Good Transit
Many nearby public transportation options

25–49 -- Some Transit
A few nearby public transportation options

0–24 -- Minimal Transit
It is possible to get on a bus


Bike score - measures the bikeability of any address

90–100 -- Biker’s Paradise
Daily errands can be accomplished on a bike

70–89 -- Very Bikeable
Biking is convenient for most trips

50–69 -- Bikeable
Some bike infrastructure

0–49 -- Somewhat Bikeable
Minimal bike infrastructure


Sound score

A Soundscore™ rating aggregates noise between 50 (very loud) and 100 (very quiet) that tells you how loud a location is due to environmental noise caused by vehicle traffic, aircraft traffic, and local sources.


Valet Trash

Valet waste removal is a service designed specifically for multi-family housing units. On specified days, residents place their garbage outside their doors in a pre-provided container provided that porters then pick up and haul to a larger dumpster on or off property.