Where American renters get the most, least space in new apartments

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Unfortunately for apartment dwellers, the walls can feel like they are getting closer. The average size of new apartments in 2022 was 30 square feet smaller than the year before, the sharpest decline in the past 10 years, according to a recent survey by RentCafe.com.

The share of one-room and studio apartments grew to 57% of new-build apartments in 2022, an increase compared to exactly half of new-builds ten years ago. Partly because of this, the average size of all apartments has shrunk.

While RentCafe found that three-bedroom units had grown by 15 square feet in the past year, the average size of two-bedroom, one-bedroom, and studio units all declined by at least 10 square feet.

RentCafe used data from its sister website Yardi Matrix to examine how square footage has changed in the 100 U.S. cities with the largest inventory of apartments.

While apartments have been shrinking nationally over the past 10 years, not all apartment dwellers are feeling it. These are the cities where apartment sizes have changed the most.

New Yorkers may be the first to tell you how small their living spaces are. Three of the city’s five boroughs — Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan — are among the five cities with the smallest new apartments overall.

Seattle’s average 689 square foot apartments earn the distinction of being the smallest in the country. Fortunately, the size of new homes is not shrinking the fastest there.

Apartments in Silver Spring, Maryland, have declined by the most square feet (114) in the past decade. Decatur, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama follow closely behind, with new pads losing 100 and 96 square feet each, respectively.

Here are the 15 cities where the average size of new apartments has decreased the most over the past 10 years:

If you want to get big, go south. According to RentCafe’s analysis, 11 of the 15 cities with the largest average size of new apartments are in that region, led by Tallahassee and Gainesville, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama.

But cities where new apartments have grown the most in the last 10 years are scattered across the country. Tucson, Arizona, leads the pack, and its new apartments beat the growth of the next city — Tallahassee, Florida — by more than 100 square feet.

The average size of new apartments grew the most in these 15 cities:

Find a bigger house if you feel cramped not always feasible, given the current housing shortage in the country and the fact that more space often means a much higher rent.

If you are willing to move, you may be able to get more space in another housing market for less money. The average Brooklyn apartment is a scant 692 square feet and costs an average of $2,109 per month according to Apartment List, compared to the average 805 square foot apartments in Salt Lake City that rent for a median of $1,319.






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