Supersize Apartments Are Back in Demand
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Supersize Apartments Are Back in Demand

Developers across U.S. try to meet millennials’ needs and accommodate the shift to remote work.

By Sami Sparber
Wed, Jun 30, 2021 11:25amGrey Clock 3 min

Apartment sizes are getting bigger across the U.S., just as more people are looking for additional space while spending more time working from home.

In 36% of U.S. cities, apartments under construction are larger on average than those built over the previous five years, according to a report from RENTCafé, a nationwide apartment-search website. Units in 33 of the 92 cities studied rose nearly 50 square feet on average, the report said.

The demand for larger units follows several years when apartments were shrinking in size, in part because smaller units are more profitable for property owners. In dense urban areas and around universities, many developers continue to build smaller apartments to offer more of them and meet high rental demand, according to Yardi Matrix, a real-estate market-intelligence firm that provided data for the RENTCafé report.

But the percentage of bigger new apartments is the highest it has been in five years, reflecting recent tenant preferences, said Doug Ressler, Yardi Matrix’s manager of business intelligence. Older millennials have reached the typical homebuying age, but many are unable to find a home they can afford. Instead, they are looking to rent larger apartments for themselves and their families, Mr. Ressler said.

While the urge to upsize apartments predated the Covid-19 pandemic, some real-estate executives suggest it will continue as the health crisis puts a new premium on space. Developers say they are building units that offer more space to work and relax in, as a way to accommodate residents who are moving out of high-density cities and into suburban areas across the country.

“We’re doing little things like adding built-in offices and areas where people can work from home in nooks and crannies,” said Michael Van Der Poel, founding partner of Asia Capital Real Estate, a private-equity firm that specializes in multifamily-housing development and investment.

J. David Heller, chief executive of the NRP Group, a developer of multifamily buildings, said his firm is offering a den that can be used as a home office in both its one- and two-bedroom apartment plans.

NRP, which develops communities in St. Petersburg, Fla., and San Antonio, among other cities, has expanded a number of its floor plans by 30 to 50 square feet, Mr. Heller said.

Some multifamily developers in northern New Jersey are taking a similar approach, replacing one-bedroom apartments with one-bedrooms plus a den, said Brian Gretkowski, president of Sparrow Asset Management.

The extra space that U.S. developers are offering is incremental, but “in a 600-square-foot apartment, 50 square feet adds up,” said Justin Brown, president and CEO of Skender, a Chicago-based construction firm.

RENTCafé’s report, which it released in early June, analyzed apartment data in the 92 U.S. cities where floor-plan-size information was available as of last month for projects under construction.

One-, two- and three-bedroom apartments are increasing in size in almost half of the cities RENTCafé analyzed. Those units are adding to their average size 28 square feet, 39 square feet and 105 square feet, respectively, according to the report.

Everett, Wash., is leading the trend. Developers there are building apartments to be 267 square feet larger than those built in the past five years, the report said. Other leaders include Kirkland, Wash., with 211 additional square feet, followed by Scottsdale, Ariz., with 208 more square feet, on average.

The report didn’t address whether the shift to add space will affect rent prices. Not all developers are convinced the trend will stick, citing affordability challenges.

“We’re unsure if long term, average unit sizes will increase because that would ultimately mean higher rents,” said Omar Rihani, head of multifamily development at Project Management Advisors.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: June 29, 2021



MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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It’s a slam dunk as a covetable $2m KDR site complete with basketball court hits the market in the Hills District

The ball is in the buyer’s court with this knockdown/rebuild opportunity

By KANEBRIDGE NEWS
Tue, Apr 18, 2023 2 min

Glenhaven in Sydney’s Hills District is one of those areas that locals tend to keep to themselves. Leafy with large blocks on offer, the suburb takes its name from its valley location, with the northern end originally known as the Glen and the southern end called the Haven. 

En route from Parramatta to the Hunter, Glenhaven has become an ideal place for growing families in search of a little more space, or even room to house several generations under one roof.

The challenge is finding properties that tick all the right boxes.

As demand for trades and supply chain issues continue to ease, now could be the right time for a knockdown/rebuild project for would-be buyers looking to create their dream home.

Fairmont Homes specialises in knockdown/rebuild projects in Sydney. General manager at Fairmont Homes, Daniel Logue, said there are key features to look for when choosing a knockdown/rebuild site.

“The key items we look for are the site falling to the street, not to the rear, to help with stormwater drainage as well as access to the site,” he said. “Neighbouring property front setbacks are also important. In some older areas, the older houses are set closer to the street, meaning your new home will have to be set to suit.

“Value for money and the return on the end sale price of the home is another issue.”

If possible, he said designing a home that meets the criteria of the Complying Development legislation will speed up approvals considerably.

While suitable knockdown/rebuild sites can be hard to find in Glenhaven, there are still hidden opportunities if you know where to look.

One block at 158 Gilbert Road, Glenhaven is ideally suited for rejuvenation. With almost 850sqm to play with, it slopes down to the street and sits between neighbouring properties that have already been stylishly updated.

 

 

An existing basketball court at the rear could provide the perfect teen backdrop to a family home, or it could make way for a larger house with landscaped gardens and pool. Alternatively, it could be the perfect position for a cabana or granny flat to serve as in-law accommodation or a source of secondary income.

With recent sales of completed homes in nearby streets reaching well above $5 million, it’s a great opportunity to make a slam dunk of a buy into one of Sydney’s best kept secrets.

Address: 158 Gilbert Road, Glenhaven
Price guide: $1.8 million
Inspection: By appointment only

 

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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