New Study Says Seattle Has Smallest Apartments In U.S.

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A new study shows the average size of apartments has declined over the past 10 years and Seattle has the smallest apartments in the U.S.

In its latest study, RentCafe, says the average apartment size has shrunk by 52 square feet over the past 10 years, now coming in at an average of 941 square feet.

 Highlights of the smallest apartments in U.S. study

  • The average size of new apartments in the U.S. in 2018 is 941 square feet, 5 percent smaller than ten years ago, with studio apartments shrinking the most, by more than 10 percent; meanwhile, overall rents have increased by 28% over the same period of time.
  • The average size of apartments regardless of year built is 882 square feet, with the largest apartments in the Southeast boasting 975 square feet of living space and the smallest in California, measuring 837 square feet.
  • Seattle has the smallest apartments in the U.S. with an average size of 711 square feet, Manhattan and Chicago the second smallest rentals, 733 square feet, while Tallahassee, FL offers the most spacious rentals in the U.S., 1,038 square feet on average.
  • Rents in newly-built apartments have increased by 28%, but their size has gotten 5% smaller compared to 2008.
  • Apartments in Detroit and Phoenix have suffered the biggest cuts in size over the last 10 years, 27% and 19% respectively. Los Angeles and Boston apartments are also in the top 5 in terms of size reduction.
  • Although rentals in San Francisco and Manhattan are among the smallest in the nation, they have been increasing in size in recent years, up by 13% and 12% respectively, compared to 10 years prior.
  • DenverColorado Springs and San Jose have seen dramatic changes in rents and size in opposite directions over the past decade. Rents here jumped 60%, while rental sizes went down between 4% and 11%.

New Study Says Seattle Has Smallest Apartments In U.S.

Living habits lead to changes in apartment size

Changes in renters’ living habits are literally redrawing floor plans, according to the RentCafe study.

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.

Studio apartments — the symbol of downtown living — have been cut down the most. The average studio apartment is 10% smaller than 10 years ago, reduced from 573 sqft in 2008 to 514 sqft this year.

Contrary to the growing interest in smaller units, studio apartments continue to represent a small piece of the rental market, only 5% nationally of all apartments. One-bedroom rental units make up the largest chunk of the national apartment stock (43%) and their floor plans have decreased by 4% over the last decade, while two-bedroom apartments have seen the least change in size, down by only 0.5% on average.

RentCafe ranked the top 100 cities with the largest rental stock in the country by the average size of their rental apartments.

Methodology

This report was compiled by RentCafe.com, a nationwide apartment search website that enables renters to easily find apartments and houses for rent throughout the United States. The apartment size and rent data were provided by Yardi Matrix, a RENTCafé sister company specialized in apartment market intelligence, providing up-to-date information on large-scale multi-family properties of 50 units or more in over 130 U.S. markets.

Unit types are categorized by the number of bedrooms (zero, one, two) as defined by Yardi Matrix. The regions included in this report coincide with Yardi Matrix’s market boundaries and may be different from regional boundaries as defined by other sources.

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