With most young professionals not earning enough to be able to afford a traditional home, developers are trying to tempt them with something that does remain in reach – affordable, “tiny” condos that are ideal for those without a family to worry about.
CNBC News paid a visit to the nation's capital Washington D.C. to get a first-hand look at the new trend towards tiny condos in the area.
Chris Ballard, principal at marketing firm McWilliams/Ballard, which has been hired to sell units at the Ontario 17 condominium building in D.C.'s Adams Morgan neighborhood, explained the studio apartments are priced at just $275,000 for 380 Square feet, which is about half the average price of a home in the area. Ballard said that even though the building hasn't yet been finished, buyers are enthusiastic, and he's already sold 70 percent of its units.
"They definitely notice it's smaller, so it is an explanation; it takes a little bit of an adjustment," Ballard said.
Laina Lee, a sales manager at Ontario 17, the condo's developer, said tiny condos are clearly proving to be a hit with younger, first-time buyers. "About 80 percent of all our buyers, including our studios and our one-bedrooms, have all been first-time home buyers,” she revealed.
According to Ballard, one of the reasons so many younger professionals are looking to buy is the rising rents in the area. D.C.-area rents have hit an historical high, and so people are struggling to find somewhere affordable. More to the point, by paying such high rents, many younger persons are unable to save for the deposit they need to put down on a traditional, single-family home.
"We're definitely getting a consumer that's priced out of the market," said Ballard in an effort to explain the appeal of tiny condos. "They [young professionals] look at older resales, and now they get to come and look at something that is brand new, and so that's a great difference, when you're comparing a 1970s build, older-type condominium with something that's brand-new with all new fit and finish."
Ontario 17 in D.C.'s condos come well equipped to help people deal with the lack of living space. They include a special bed that folds up against the wall when not in use, with a sofa also built into the bed. There's also a dining table that folds down from a picture frame on the opposite wall, while even the kitchen appliances are purpose built to fit into the tiny kitchen space.