• Social Spaces: The next generation of apartment design, with its numerous areas for gathering together and socializing, is on display at Alliance Residentials Domain property in Seattle.

    Credit: Courtesy Alliance Residential

    Social Spaces: The next generation of apartment design, with its numerous areas for gathering together and socializing, is on display at Alliance Residential’s Domain property in Seattle.
So just how small are apartment units getting? Anand says the 900-square-foot floor plans for one-bedroom units that were typical prior to the recession have decreased in size by 20 percent or more. “A lot of the [one-bedrooms] we are doing right now have an average unit size of 700 square feet or less,” he says. “It’s a huge difference from the 900- and 950-square-foot plans that we saw in the last cycle.” The loss of square footage is also not endemic to geography, price point, or product type, and even has some developers experimenting with modular apartments or micro-units of 400 square feet or less. (For more on this trend, see “How Low Can You Go?”)

“Certainly what I am seeing is smaller units, and that occurs at every price point and in every category,” Ytterberg says. “The top-of-the-line, ultra-luxury one-bedrooms that were pushing 1,000 square feet are now ratcheted back to 800, and the middle markets are dropping back to the 700s, while university-located housing is starting to get even ­tinier, with 600-square-foot apartments and smaller.”