Let’s Get Small: The Micro-Apartment Trend is Taking Off
Is bigger always better? Maybe not, if the burgeoning trend toward tiny apartments is any indication.
In recent years, high-density, high-priced locales like San Francisco and New York City have loosened zoning restrictions to allow for the construction of so-called “micro-apartments,” units of typically less than 300 square feet that are intended as relatively inexpensive alternatives to those cities’ traditional, and increasingly unaffordable, housing stock.
For instance, in 2012, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a ruling that allowed for the construction of apartments as small as 220 square feet. And earlier this year, New York City approved legislation that lifted a city ban on apartments smaller than 400 square feet.
That latter ruling came some two years after New York announced a micro-apartment pilot program under which builder Monadnock Development constructed Carmel Place, a 55-unit project in the city’s Murray Hill neighborhood featuring studio apartments ranging from 260 to 360 square feet and priced from $2,570 to $2,995 per month. A lottery held last year for the building’s 14 designated affordable units (most of which rent for $950 a month) drew applications from around 60,000 people.
Now, granted, $2,570 a month for a pint-sized studio certainly isn’t pocket change, but given that full-sized studios in the area can run well above the $3,000 mark, the micro-approach makes having your own place a bit more doable—no small feat in a housing market like Manhattan.
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