Sometimes 300 SF is All You Need

From a Wall Street Journal article about the rise in popularity of micro apartments, even in markets that aren’t that expensive:

Micro apartments are about 300 square feet or smaller, though some developers and cities define them as large as 500 square feet. They sometimes lack a separate kitchen or bedroom.

Developers believe that single people in their 20s and 30s will accept less space in exchange for lower rent, even in cities where rent levels aren’t especially lofty. Nationwide, rents have soared as the supply of apartments hasn’t kept pace with demand.

“This is not a short-term phenomenon,” said John Infranca, an assistant law professor at Suffolk University in Boston who specializes in land-use law and has studied micro-apartment projects in several cities. “There is going to be demand for this housing going forward. The [trend] of an increasing number of singles in cities is staying steady across the country.”

But in small cities like those found in the Piedmont Triad this concept may not work:

Some real-estate executives aren’t sure that micro apartments would work in smaller or less expensive cities because rents aren’t sufficiently high to induce enough renters to give up space. “In smaller markets, the rent differential is such that, if you have a good job, you can typically afford the rent of a…full-size apartment,” said Jeffrey I. Friedman, chief executive of Associated Estates Realty Corp. AEC +0.32% , which owns 14,000 apartments averaging 975 square feet in 10 Midwestern and East Coast states.

Another potential problem for smaller cities is that they don’t always have the mass transit, night life and cultural facilities to lure younger workers to live downtown. “You can’t just drop these [micro apartments] in communities that don’t have the amenities to serve that kind of lifestyle,” said Kelly Saito, president of Gerding Edlen, the developer of the first of Boston’s new wave of micro apartments.