Good things come in small packages. Last least that’s the case with the shrinking apartments that are sweeping across major cities in the US.
They’re called micro apartments, and they can be as small as 150 square feet – much smaller than your average studio apartment.
These tiny units are the latest housing trend that’s allowing urbanites to be able to afford living smack dab in the center of the bustling city without being house poor. They’re a phenomenon that’s typically associated with big, expensive cities, though the trend is sprawling outside these typical borders.
This living craze reportedly has its roots in Seattle, where the city’s affordable housing problem was addressed by launching minuscule pads that, while definitely short on space, are certainly much more affordable than your average apartment in the city.
Micro Apartments Widespread
Since then, this trend has gained momentum across the country, with major cities joining the bandwagon, including the likes of San Francisco, Portland, Boston, and New York City. But even cities that you wouldn’t expect to see micro apartments popping up in are experiencing a surge in these new urban-style units, including Des Moines, Omaha, and other cities in the Mid-West.
Interest in living in the downtown core has extended well beyond east- and west-coastal cities that are known for dizzying housing prices. And the rental price crunch that has been plaguing residents in crowded cities is widespread. About 40% of renters in the country spend more than one-third of their income on housing.
It’s a Win-Win For Both Tenants and Developers
It’s all about simple economics: smaller apartments equals more affordability and options for tenants. And the developers behind these communes are benefitting from them as well. They’re essentially getting a higher price per square foot, while offering budget-conscious renters a much cheaper overall rental price. According to the Urban Land Institute (ULI), units that are less than 600 square feet cost approximately $2.65 per square foot — that’s 81% more than apartments over the 1,000 square-foot mark.
Many of these micro apartments share communal kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor spaces, while others offer amenities such as Wi-Fi and kitchenettes. They typically come furnished, though not much is needed in such limited quarters. They tend to range in price anywhere from $350 to $800 per month, including utilities.
And while these minuscule units might be small on square footage, their designs are ingenious. The development companies behind these apartments create designs that are focused specifically on how residents move about through these smaller spaces. Flow and functionality is as good as it can get, considering the limited square footage – residents don’t necessarily have to wake up from their beds to the sight of dirty dishes piled up in their kitchenette sinks.
They’re Not Just For Young Urbanites
Despite the average size of new homes getting bigger each year, some people are trying to do more with less – MUCH less. Micro apartments and tiny houses are hailed as much more environmentally friendly, efficient, more affordable, and even more communal. Considering the small confines of these spaces, residents are more likely to get out more and socialize.
While it was originally thought that only the young demographic would consider calling these living quarters home, residents are increasingly discrediting this idea as many middle-aged professionals and even the elderly are enjoying the convenience, low maintenance, and low rents that come with micro apartment living.
Just like any big city in the US, there’s a demand for downtown living. And if you want to want to rent a place for less than $1,500 and live on your own sans roommate, it basically needs to be a micro apartment. And the majority of residents that call these places home are more than fine with it.