Micro-Units: Little Homes Making a Big Splash in the Real Estate Market
December 4, 2015
December 4, 2015
You may have heard them referred to as innovation units, urban-sized apartments, or more commonly micro-units. These minute homes are making a big impact in major cities across the United States; and no, we’re not talking about the affordable prefab ones like former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg lobbied so hard for in 2012 (which, by the way, those are finally under construction in Manhattan’s Kips Bay neighborhood, according to Gothamist.com). The micro-units we’re talking about offer top-of-the-line finishes and amenities. Many are positioned in prime residential developments and can be equally as expensive as a spacious one-bedroom upwards of 600 square feet in a similar neighborhood just a couple of years ago. A prime example of this shift from larger units to smaller units is what’s happening in Boston. Over the past couple of years, these smaller-than-usual apartments have been making their way into a handful of new developments in the city’s most chic neighborhoods like the Seaport District.
Micro-units are often marketed towards young professionals and empty-nesters, as they offer all of the amenities of a luxury building, while sacrificing some space to lower the monthly rent. That said, micro-units still aren’t cheap. According to a recent article on Curbed San Francisco, many of that city’s newest luxury apartment buildings offer very small units with very big amenities like rooftop lounges, pools, high-end gyms, and business centers. Prices for the micro studio apartments in the article, all of which are less than 500 square feet, range from $2,265 to $3,415/month.
How is this trend playing out in Boston? Here are a few high-profile buildings offering micro-units:
The 359-unit property located in the Seaport District was developed by Tishman Speyer and designed by SHoP architects. The development includes 50 innovation units spread over two floors with asking prices beginning at approximately $2,574 a month.
The 398-unit property located in the AVA Theater District in downtown Boston was developed by AvalonBay Communities and was designed by CBT. According to Curbed Boston, the new development will include smaller studios of less than 500 square feet. According to the 45 Stuart website, monthly rents for these studios start at $2,774.
The 832-unit property located in the Seaport District is being developed by Boston Global Investors and designed by Elkus Manfredi. According to an article from Curbed Boston, the development includes 96 innovation units as small as 365 square feet. Pricing has yet to be made public.
This 38-unit property located in Fort Point was developed by Gerding Edlen. The rental conversion encompasses 23 micro apartments ranging 370 to 530 square feet, which, according to an article in The Improper Bostonian, received 47 applications for the 23 apartments in the first week of leasing with monthly rates from $1,700 to $2,400, significantly higher than many expected. The property is now fully leased.
The 202-unit property, which is also in Fort Point and developed by Gerding Edlen, offers studios as small as 464 square feet with rents starting at $2,279 a month according to the Boston Business Journal. Additionally, an excerpt from this Curbed Boston article explains, “[315 on A] also fostered the concept of 20-Minute Living, which you can’t put a price tag on.” Amenities and location continue to be the primary driver of micro-unit development in Boston.