Last summer, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the city was embracing the idea of minutely small studio apartments (275-300 square feet) as an answer to the need for single-person living. My initial reaction? Not for me!
Fast forward a few months to when ERA Real Estate uncovered the emerging trend of downsizing amongst home buyers, pointing out that many current buyers who adjusted their lifestyles during the recession to simpler means intend to maintain that lifestyle. They prefer a smaller home with less upkeep and expense so they can enjoy other aspects of their lives – hobbies, travel, relationships, etc. After researching the idea, I thought, ok, I get it.
In line with that discovery, RISMedia’s Real Estate recently published Thinking Big, Living Small, which delves into the growing popularity of the micro-home movement, further highlighting the expansion of the downsizing trend. The author, Zoe Eisenberg, notes some interesting statistics and reasons for the popularity of pint-sized habitats.
- While only one percent of Americans live in micro-homes, a growing interest in smaller home websites suggests an increasing interest in smaller dwellings.
- In urban areas such as New York City and San Francisco, micro-sized apartments cost just under $2,000 to rent in NYC and about $1,200 – 1,500 in San Fran. While that may sound pricey to some, it is less than many of the rents found in these coveted urban areas.
- Smaller homes provide living accommodations for those who require less space such as single people and childless couples who desire less upkeep so they have more time to enjoy life.
- Living with less space reduces one’s carbon footprint while also decreasing living expenses and streamlining a person’s way of life. As the article notes, “the idea of living in a simple, paid-for home is very appealing for people willing to trade square feet for economic security.”
As noted by Eisenberg, the average home size is actually decreasing, supporting the trend that some Americans are interested in downsizing. And just as we found, the demographics for these types of dwellers runs the gamut from empty nesters looking to down-size in their retirement to eco-conscious people and couples looking for small vacation homes.
So what do these pint-sized places look like? That too is a broad spectrum ranging from sleek designs with green and high-tech amenities to rustic units (some are even on wheels allowing for greater mobility) or minimalist apartment spaces.
What these small spaces do have in common is their economical efficiency. In a time when being thrifty is somewhat in style, micro-homes have carved out their niche. Right now, this type of lifestyle wouldn’t work for my family (where would I put those boxes and boxes of Legos®?) but in terms of a vacation home or a retirement home, I would definitely consider it.
Want to know if this type of living is for you? Take our Home Buying Quiz to find out what type of buyer you are.