The size of the average new American apartment is off about 7 percent since 2009, according to a new analysis from RCLCO, a real estate consulting group based in Bethesda, MD. While the average new apartment built from 2000 to 2009 had 988 square feet, the ones built during the last six and half years averaged only 917 square feet. Why the shrinkage?
First, the unit mix is changing, says RCLCO. Developers are building more studio and one–bedroom units and fewer two– and three–bedroom units, especially in high–and moderate cost markets. High cost areas include L.A and Washington, DC, while examples of moderate cost markets are Miami, Denver and Houston.
Second, floorplans for given unit types (studios, one–bedrooms, etc.) are also getting smaller. The average size for new studio and one–bedroom units has slipped by 4 percent (about 25 to 35 square feet), respectively, since 2009. In fact, the report says "the share of units under 600 square feet doubled to 15% of new studio and one–bedroom supply during the 2010–2016 period compared with 2000–2009. Furthermore, units under 700 square feet increased from 25% to 37%."
RCLCO also notes that average new apartment sizes fell by 9 percent since 2009 in the Midwest to 896 square feet, 8 percent on the East and West Coasts to 880 square feet and 5 percent in the South to 957 square feet.