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Apartments are shrinking, but rents still rise

By Mike WheatleyJuly 07, 2016
  • Apartment sizes are getting smaller. A new report from the online rental marketplace RentCafe shows that new apartments hitting the market are eight percent smaller than they were ten years ago. But unfortunately for renters, while living spaces are shrinking, the rents aren’t getting any smaller – in fact, the average rent in the U.S. has increased by seven percent in just five years.

    Chart_Changes_US_Apt_Size

    When all new apartments (including studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms) are taken into consideration the average square footage is just 934 square feet. But just ten years ago the size of new units averaged 1,015 square feet, the report found. And as far as rents go, the average in 2016 is $1,296 a month, compared to just $977 a month the average renter was paying in 2011.

    It seems that new studio apartments are getting the worst deal. The average new studio has shrunk by almost 18 percent compared to 2006, with the average size now being just 504 square feet. One-bedroom apartments have shrunk less, down from 794 square feet to just 752 square feet today. On the other hand, those who can afford to pay more will get more – the report shows the average size of a two-bedroom apartment has increased in the last ten years, up one percent to 1,126 square feet on average.

    The report puts the blame on rising construction costs, which in turn are caused by increased regulations and rising land costs, notes CNNMoney.

    "Developers have faced higher construction costs recently, especially in bigger cities, thanks in part to rising land costs and increased regulations," the report says. "Fitting more units in a building tends to bring a higher return on investment."

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