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Surprising 2020 Trends in American Apartment Size

Housing market trends have been incredible to watch over the past decade. With the crash of 2008, it’s no surprise that there’s been an uptick in renting.

Pair that with the growth of short-term rentals through Airbnb, and you have a paradigm shift in renting vs. buying.

image - Surprising 2020 Trends in American Apartment Size
Surprising 2020 Trends in American Apartment Size

Perhaps one of the biggest changes over the past decade has been in home sizes. Here are some surprising 2020 trends in American apartment sizes.


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Micro Apartments are Becoming More Widespread

Micro apartments have long been a thing in Asia, where the population far outweighs the available space. There are even micro-hotels where you check yourself into a small pod to sleep.

While tiny apartments are nothing new in major hubs like New York City, they’re starting to pop up elsewhere throughout the country.

The micro-apartment trend goes hand-in-hand with the tiny home movement. The millennial generation is markedly known for valuing experiences over things.

Thus, more people are seeking out smaller homes— both purchased and rented— and viewing them as nothing more than a place to sleep. The trade-off is living in a city with endless things to do.

It’s also worth noting that this shift started occurring after the market crash of 2008. Mindsets shifted about how much space is needed and whether it’s worth extending beyond your means to have it, whether you rent or buy.

Space is a Luxury Worth the Investment

While plenty of contractors and landlords are renting smaller spaces, others are having success going against the trends. In a few cities— Washington, D.C., for example— apartments are actually getting bigger.

There are still plenty of people that view space as a luxury worth investing in. This trend is particularly true in booming cities where increased job opportunities make it worth the investment.

The same applies to desirable areas surrounding boom cities, such as Arlington, Texas, where you can find spacious rentals at reasonable rates (source: https://www.umovefree.com/City/arlington-apartments-tx/).

image - Space is a Luxury Worth the Investment

Minimalist and Industrialism Reign Supreme

A streamlined design makes even the smallest of apartments look more spacious. In recent years, apartments have been getting smaller while looking bigger through the use of minimalism and industrialist designs.

Minimalism is known for straight lines, simple colors, and having nothing more than what’s needed. Industrialism keeps things open with natural materials and exposed beams. Together, these trends make small living more desirable.

Size and Cost Have an Inverse Relationship

In 2008, the more you paid, the more space you got. That started to change after the crash, finally intersecting in 2012. Since then, size and cost have had an inverse relationship.

In essence, renters are paying more than ever for less space. In fact, rent costs across the nation have gone up 28% while the apartment size has gone down an average of 5% across the nation.

image - Size and Cost Have an Inverse Relationship

America Still Has Some of the Biggest Homes

Despite the decrease in apartment sizes for the majority of America, this country still boasts far more space than most. It stands to reason, then, that apartment sizes around the world are shrinking as well. After all, while the USA was hit the hardest by the great recession, it had global impacts.

Furthermore, the world population is growing at a startling rate. Overpopulated regions are just getting more overpopulated, and more people means less space to sprawl.

Southeast America Has the Biggest Apartments

Surprisingly, within America, the Southeast region has the most living space for apartments. States like Florida boast an average of almost 100 square feet over the national average. The south, in its entirety, boasts more space.

Conversely, things are getting cramped in the Western part of the country, particularly in California. This is ironic since California is the third-largest state by landmass.

Final Thoughts

Despite this shift, more people are seeing the value of living life as a renter. The convenience of living in a desirable area paired with not having to worry about home maintenance has tremendous value. After all, finding the right home is all about location.


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