In a new analysis of Yardi Matrix data, RENTCafé has found that apartment unit sizes are on the rise in 36% of U.S. cities—likely as a result of changing renter preferences brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to working from home.
“The pandemic and work-from-home has made people more conscious of the space in which they live and work,” says Doug Ressler, manager of business intelligence at Yardi Matrix. “The pandemic has significantly accelerated issues on designers’ minds well before 2020. These issues involve the rise of the home as a workspace, and a deeper emphasis on health and well-being.”
Out of the 92 cities analyzed, 33 are trending toward building larger apartment units than they have in the past. Of those 33, only seven are suburban areas—indicating that the majority of cities embracing larger units are predominantly dense urban areas.
The average size of a new apartment unit across the entire data set is 942 square feet, up from 894 square feet in the past five years—a difference of about 50 square feet, or the size of a home office, according to RENTCafé. Over half of the cities in the data set—51%—are building larger two-bedroom apartments than before, and the average size of a two-bedroom apartment is up by 39 square feet on average. One-bedroom units are 28 square feet larger on average, while three-bedroom units are 105 square feet larger on average.
The space added to the average size of an apartment varies widely by city, ranging from 1 square foot in West Palm Beach, Florida, to 267 extra square feet in Everett, Washington. When delivered, Everett’s newest apartments will measure 1,195 square feet on average—the highest out of all cities analyzed—compared with the 928-square-foot average in the last decade. Among the 33 cities with larger average apartment sizes is Chicago, with 38 extra square feet in its apartments under construction compared with the five-year average.
Click here to see a list of the top 20 cities that are building the largest apartments.