The New Apartment Market Trend: Micro Units

 

Miniaturization in computers and electronics is all about doing more in less space, reducing the overall footprint of any one piece to make room for more cool stuff. It’s meant the difference between these two:

Or these two:

It makes sense for technology, but for apartments? Sure, miniaturized apartments would let you put more units at a single property, but it’s not like you can reduce the size of the people inside the units. Would people like to live in “micro-unit apartments”?

Apparently, some people would. This article spotlights a Brooklyn couple who live in a 240-square-foot space. And they’re not the only ones. Last year I shared a story about a man living in a modular 330-square-foot apartment in Hong Kong. And New York City planners are pushing for tiny apartments in the Big Apple. (You can read about multifamily reaction to the idea over at GlobeSt.com.)

It’s an interesting phenomenon. But what gets the wheels in my mind turning isn’t the development aspect of the micro units—whether or not to build them, how they’d be set up, etc. I’m already thinking ahead to the next step, and this is where I’m hoping you’ll help me brainstorm:

How would life be different for a property manager at a property with these tiny apartments? What would change?

A few thoughts off the top of my head:

  • Tinier units mean more residents per square feet, which can mean an increase in the number of leases to manage, rents to collect, screenings to perform, etc., for a single property.
  • Marketing changes a lot. For many people, those small units are going to be a tough sell. I think niche marketing would be key here, not convincing people looking for bigger apartments that they can get by with less space, but instead finding people who will see those tiny units as an advantage.
  • Hand in hand with marketing, pricing is going to change, too. What’s the right price point for an apartment the size of a single car garage? How about with special amenities like fold-down beds or sliding panels?
  • Safety can be a concern. Increased population density can mean some extra work for evacuation plans and it would take less time for fire, bed bugs, etc. to spread from one unit to another.
  • Facilities issues are going to be different in other ways, too. Increased efficiency in the apartments themselves might mean that plumbing, ventilation, and other factors are less accessible, and residents are likely going to be just that much more aware of anyone servicing their units when they’re temporarily sharing such a small space with then. Would extra training be necessary?

What do you think of micro units? What challenges (and rewards) have I overlooked above? Sound off in the comments below.

Two people share this tiny, 240-square-foot apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Photo: Erin Boyle / Readingmytealeaves.com)
Two people share this tiny, 240-square-foot apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Photo: Erin Boyle / Readingmytealeaves.com)

 


Contributor, Property Management Insider

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Michael Cunningham is Content Marketing Manager at ProofHQ, and the former Managing Editor of PropertyManagementInsider.com. He worked as a social media manager for RealPage, Inc., a provider of on-demand software solutions that integrate and streamline single-family and a wide variety of multifamily rental property management business functions. He is responsible for promoting the company through various media channels, including editorial, print and online advertising, and social media. Michael received his education at Indiana University where he majored in English.

8 responses to “The New Apartment Market Trend: Micro Units”

  1. The New Apartment Market Trend: Micro Units (Is smaller really better?) http://t.co/xPhPDv5b #multifamily #propertymanagement

  2. New from @propmgmtinsider: The New Apartment Market Trend: Micro Units http://t.co/ZuaOZPcf #multifamily #propertymanagement

  3. Bob Wilcox says:

    I’m all for it. I’d sell my house and move to the lake. Then keep a micro apartment to stay in during the week when I drive in for work. All I need is space to clean-up and sleep. (And maybe pop some microwave popcorn!)

  4. PMI: The New Apartment Market Trend: Micro Units – The latest apartment market trend is building micro units. If mic… http://t.co/AIFT7FQi

  5. The New Apartment Market Trend: Micro Units | Property Management Insider http://t.co/rXVexbF2

  6. […] It makes sense for technology, but for apartments? Sure, miniaturized apartments would let you put more units at a single property, but it’s not like you can reduce the size of the people inside the units. Would people like to live in “micro-unit apartments”?…Read More […]

  7. […] The New Apartment Market Trend: Micro Units (Published July 27, 2012) […]

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