New York’s rental studios have been trending towards micro for years

July 20, 2012 09:30AM

Rather than an innovation, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to develop “micro” apartments is just taking a trend to its logical conclusion. According to the New York Times studio apartment sizes have been on the decline for years.

Developers are building studio apartments of about 400 square feet in their new projects, down from closer to 500 square feet several years ago, Yuval Greenblatt, executive vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman, said. The smaller units are more affordable for renters eager to live without a roommate and help boost demand. At the same time, developers are putting the saved space towards larger common areas that renters use as extensions of their apartments.

For example, at LCOR’s 34 Berry Street, most of the units are 461-square-foot to 652-square-foot studios. But the building also features a lounge with flat-screen TVs, video games, a catering kitchen and a billiards table.

The Times noted that the smaller apartment trend is already well-established in other cities, including Hong Kong and Tokyo where a 1972 apartment building has units of about 107 square feet. There’s also a 90-square-foot apartment on the Upper West Side.

One area where the trend isn’t towards downsizing is condominium development. Those developers are seeking higher prices through larger homes. [NYT] —Adam Fusfeld