Apatments are getting smaller but renter are paying more
Apartments are getting smaller in much of the U.S, even as rent are rising.
According to RentCafe, a nationwide apartment search website the average size of newly built apartments in 2018 is 941 square feet, which is 5 percent smaller than it was a decade ago. For studio apartments, the change is more pronounced — they’re 10 percent smaller. Rents, on the other hand, have jumped 28 percent during the same time period.
‘Changes in renters’ living habits are literally redrawing floor plans,” wrote Nadia Balint, senior marketing writer for RENTCafe. “The largest share of apartment dwellers, millennials, prefer living in locations close to restaurants and entertainment, rather than having a large kitchen or living room to cook or entertain at home.”
Toby Bozzuto who Ceo of apartment developer the Bozzuto Group said that across our 72,000 unit portfolio we have seen an increasing demand for relatively smaller units. He added “We attribute this to a lifestyle shift that is based on our residents2 desire to be less encumbered by things. Our residents value flexibility and convenience, and appreciate a thoughtful approach to unit design.
According to Corelogic, despite an apartment construction boom in the last several years, occupancies remain high, and rents are still gaining. Yet rents are rising fastest for those who can afford it least. Rents for low-end properties, defined as those with rents less than 75 percent of the regional median, are gaining faster than luxury rentals.
All real estate is local, and so are size trends, apparently. Overall, including old and new apartments, the Sourtheast has the largest units in the nation, while California has the smallest. The average apartment size in California is 837sqf, compared with 975 sqf in the Southeast.
California saw the biggest size decrease for newly built apartments, an average decline of 12 percent over the past decade. The Pacific Northwest as well as the Northeast are next, seeing 10 percent decreases. Only in the Midwest, where rents and demand are lowest, are apartment sizes increasing, up 1 percent in that time.
Of the nation’s largest cities, Seattle has the smallest apartment units, with an average size of 711 square feet. Manhattan and Chicago are second and third smallest. Tallahassee, Florida, boasts the largest units on average at 1,038 square feet. Marietta, Georgia, and Columbia, South Carolina, come in second- and third-largest.
While all types of floor plans are shrinking, new studio apartments are minimizing most at an average of just 514 sqf this year. Studio also represent a shrinking share of the rental market just 5 percent of all units nationwide. One bedrooms lead at 43 percent of the market, but their size is down 4 percent over the last decade. Two bedroom apartments have not changed much, just 0.5 percent smaller on average.