The National Apartment Size Shrinking as Studios & 1-Bedroom Apartments Gain in Share
By Adina Dragos, Rent Cafe
MARCH 3, 2023
The average size of new apartments in 2022 was 887 square feet — a 54 square-foot drop since 10 years ago. It was also the largest year-over-year decrease, down 30 square feet.
Among other factors, the drop in size can be attributed to more studios and one-bedroom apartments entering the market in 2022, reaching a historic share of 57%.
Tallahassee, FL, led the nation with the largest apartments, while Seattle offered the smallest apartments.
Apartments in Tucson, AZ, saw the largest increase in apartment size.
Silver Spring, MD, apartments saw the largest decrease in the last 10 years.
The post-pandemic apartment market has seen significant fluctuations from one year to another, including oscillations in the size of new apartments. From the need for more space in 2020 to the need for more homes in 2022, the rising demand for rentals is affecting the size of newly built apartments. In fact, in 2022, the average apartment size was 887 square feet. That’s 54 square feet less than 10 years ago, when rentals measured 941 square feet, on average. But, the sharpest drop in one year was in 2022, when the average size went from 917 to 887 — a difference of 30 square feet.
With this in mind, we looked at the most significant changes in apartment size in the 100 largest U.S. cities, using data from Yardi Matrix.
Notably, last year's decrease comes after the two pandemic years, 2020 and 2021, when the average size of new apartments actually increased. Once again, this confirmed the developers' quick response to the need for more space during the pandemic, as they adjusted floorplans in order to accommodate large enough configurations to fit a home office. Yet, 2022 presented a different story: With one of the highest levels of construction in half a century, the year was marked by the need for more housing all across the country. As such, more studios and one-bedroom apartments were finished in 2022 than ever before. In fact, the share of smaller units reached a historic high of 57% in 2022 — a significant change compared to 10 years ago, when they represented exactly half of apartments built.
However, the 30-square-foot decline in the size of new apartments doesn't mean that all types of units shrank when compared to 2021. Rather, larger apartments with three bedrooms actually grew by 15 square feet.
Apartments in the South are the largest, while the Pacific Northwest claims the smallest
Everything is bigger in the South, and that clearly includes apartment space: In 2022, the average size of an apartment here was 993 square feet. That means that renters in the South enjoyed an extra 106 square feet compared to the national average. On the other hand, renters in the Pacific Northwest had the least amount of space with only 776 square feet — 111 less than the national average apartment size.
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