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Survey Shows Spike in Volume and Importance of Reviews and Ratings

July 01, 2020


Apartment resident review volume reached an unprecedented level in Q1 2020, more than doubling the total number reviews posted in the prior quarter (Q4 2019), giving credence to the importance of reviews and ratings.

“We have observed that apartment reviews follow the same pattern as the industry leasing seasonality. Given the holiday festivities in Q4, the review volume is generally low, and it picks up again in the first quarter. It climbs up further in the second quarter due the leasing period in various communities nationwide,” explained Joseph Batdorf, president of J Turner Research.

These data come from the fourth edition of The Mechanics of Online Review Sites and ILSs produced by J Turner Research. The report is an unparalleled resource on the growth of online reviews, review sites, and Internet Listing Services (ILSs) relevant to the multifamily industry. It offers a quantitative perspective on the progression of online reputation in multifamily.

Its analysis originates from the online reputation monitoring of nearly 116,000 properties nationwide across various review sites and ILSs, each month.

As of Q1 2020, there are 9,777,352 reviews for the 115,948 properties J Turner monitors, and 86 percent of these properties – 99,579 have at least one review. In this report, all analysis is based on these 99,579 properties.

In 2015, it monitored 55,700+ properties. The number of reviews has grown 3.5 times from 2,741,818 reviews in 2015 to 9,777,352 reviews in Q1 2020. Additionally:

  • Number of reviews per property – The average number of reviews per property in 2019 was 93.32, in Q1 2020 it is 98.19.
  • Total market share – As of Q1 2020, there are 9,777,352 total reviews. Google is the No. 1 review site with 28 percent market share, followed by ApartmentRatings with 27 percent and Modern Message (recently acquired by RealPage) with a 10 percent share of this total review volume.
  • Source of reviews – With regards to the review volume in Q1 2020 alone, Google has the most reviews (37 percent), followed by Rent.com at 30 percent. Next in line is Modern Message, with 13 percent of the total volume of reviews for this quarter.
  • Sentiment by site – Modern Message has the highest sentiment of all review sites at 4.31 on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest.
  • Volume distribution of review – In Q1 2020, 43 percent of properties have 20 or fewer reviews, 13 percent have between 50 to 100 reviews, and 26 percent have more than 100 reviews.