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By Lynn Pollack | June 09, 2021 at 07:40 AM

Small cities are leading this trend due to a “residential recalibration” from urban areas to more suburban locales.

Apartment developers are building markedly bigger units as the multifamily building industry adapts to changing post-pandemic renter preferences.

After more than 10 years of shrinking footprints, 36% of new builds in 92 markets across the country are building bigger apartments than ever, according to a RentCafe analysis of Yardi Matrix data. Most of those are upsizing two-bedroom units, which are increasing by nearly 50 square feet on average. Three-bedroom apartments are increasing by an average of 105 square feet.

“The pandemic and work-from-home has made people more conscious of the space in which they live and work,” Doug Ressler, manager of business intelligence at Yardi Matrix, told RentCafe. “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.”

The average increase across all unit sizes is 49 square feet—“just enough for a small home office,” according to RentCafe.

“This is a wind of change in apartment construction—especially in urban areas—and it’s setting the stage for new trends in living preferences following the pandemic,” RentCafe’s Florentina Serac writes in her analysis.

Everett, Wash.—home to planemaker Boeing—leads the trend, with under-construction apartments measuring an average of 1,195 square feet,  the highest among the cities RentCafe analyzed.

Scottsdale, Ariz., is next, with average apartment space of 1,139 square feet, followed by Athens, Ga., which plans to deliver the third-largest apartments at 1,132 square feet.

The fact that small cities are leading this trend can be explained by a “residential recalibration” from urban areas to more suburban locales, according to Craig Jones, president of MBK Rental Living.

Orlando, Oklahoma City, and Charlotte are also on track to deliver bigger apartments, with average apartment sizes of 981 square feet, 977 square feet and 1,010 square feet, respectively. And Florida leads the way with larger apartment construction, with six cities represented on RentCafe’s top list. Of Florida cities, Sarasota is top at an average new build size of 1,007 square feet per unit, the sixth largest among all cities analyzed.

 

 

 

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