Millennials have been in the public eye for quite some time thanks to their radically different lifestyles. Unlike most other generations, they expect all aspects of life to provide them an on-demand experience. Thus, when considering the housing market, millennials have proven to value location over square footage and amenities.
The dramatic turn that is taking place amongst housing trends can be traced back to various technological milestones. Ever since Uber and Lyft entered the transportation scene, the expectation of garages became increasingly obsolete. Kitchens have fared similarly. Now that people can order from countless food delivery services, cooking has become a rare event in many people’s lives.
In addition to the emergence of these technologically-driven lifestyles, cost has furthered the demand for smaller apartments. Despite many millennials’ wish to live in the middle of Manhattan, they cannot keep up with the $3,000+ per month rent of ‘regular sized’ apartments. However, until recently, city zoning laws restricted the construction of cheaper apartments smaller than 400 square feet.
The result? People simply created smaller apartments by subdividing existing spaces through means such as installing pressurized walls. In response to these sociocultural and economic changes, high-priced areas like San Francisco and New York City have loosened zoning restrictions to allow for the construction of micro-apartment units of less than 300 square feet in size. And now developers are jumping on the opportunity. “[What] we are really doing is just following how people actually use housing,” Monadnock project developer Frank Dubinsky says.
But is such a cramped space even livable? According to Dubinsky, it is, as long as the spaces are carefully designed. “The key is furnishing them well and making them multifunctional,” he says. Simply put, the size of the space, amongst other things, is not relevant anymore.