Feb 052013

Some things that are “micro” are awesome. Like, um, Micro Machines, those metal toy cars that really freaking hurt when you accidentally step on them. There are micro minis (which make regular mini skirts look absolutely conservative). Uh, Microsoft Word. And microscopes. Yay for science! And now, micro-unit apartments are gaining popularity.

Are you jumping on the micro-unit development bandwagon?

There are certainly benefits to renting out micro-units (and there are several ways to market them). Less square footage means you can have more units in your building than you would with traditionally sized apartments. That means more renters, and more income for you. And it appeals to people who are more interested in the location than the actual apartment, or who don’t spend much time hanging out there. (It gives you phenomenal cosmic power, in itty bitty living space.)

But these micro units tend to have a higher turnover rate. After all, they might be good for single people, but if the renter gets married or has kids, then the person will have to get out of the lease in a hurry. (And, actually, now I’m having terrible flashbacks of a family vacation years ago when I had to share a cruise ship cabin—which had no windows—with my parents and my little brother. Those midnight buffets were not doing us any favors either.) So you’d constantly have to be marketing and showing these apartments to potential renters.

Then again, who would choose to live with a roommate if they didn’t have to, especially if you’re more than a few years out of college? Micro units make it impossible to have that fight with a roommate about cleaning those dirty dishes in the sink, A. because there won’t be anyone else in the apartment, and B. because there is literally no room for the dishes to pile up. That’s extremely appealing to renters.

But, when you think about it, what’s a couple of dirty dishes among friends to live somewhere that doesn’t start to feel like one of those pods everyone is hooked up to in The Matrix? Micro units are certainly not for people with claustrophobia, which could make it difficult to appeal to some people when showing the units.

What do you think? Do the positives outweigh the negatives to you regarding micro units in your buildings? Or are you sticking with traditional units?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor

Photo credit: Rashchektayev 


  6 Responses to “‘What Renters Want’ with Jessica Fiur: Micro Units: Yay or Nay?”

  1. Hi Jessica, You write very well. Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi Jim,

    Thank you! I appreciate it!


  3. Interesting, I did a similar proposal for project 20 year ago in Miami, FL., near Bicentennial Park. It supported 1.500 expandable units. I find it interesting that this idea is gaining popularity.

  4. I feel that micro units, as presently proposed and endorsed by the city, are an affront to basic human dignity. Scant attention has been given to the need for contact with nature. Sure, a huge and accessible bathroom is a must – for 2% of our population – but everyone needs to be able to see the sky, to have the possibility of poking one’s head out the window to see for one’s self what the weather is. Until these basic conditions are solved, micro apartments are warehousing schemes and I predict will be a passing, and ultimately un-rentable, fad.
    Curtis B Wayne

  5. NYC is talking up the concept of micro units but it would seem that they have years of experience in this area with older housing projects like Rikers Island and Attica. Let’s get real about this subject. Did you ever go away for a while and near the end of your trip you said “Can’t wait to get home”. That’s usually because your home is a place where you can enjoy certain comforts. Your home should be a place where your “other self” resides. That might be an office, an area for hobbies, a place to entertain, or simply a place to keep the things that are important and unique to your life. Would micro-units for your residence create the opposite? “Can’t wait for another business trip because this place really sucks!”

  6. I think the micro-unit is perfect for a young professional (just out of college) who is working in the city, until she/he settles down. But that’s usually about 4-6 years after this period. So it has a pretty long age range…then it passes on the next fresh out of college young professionals… SO I think it will stay. And for all of you talking about your home is your other you, and your home is this and that. You’re probably all older.

    And when I’m 35,40,45, I’ll have enough money to get a bigger place for my wife and family. But you don’t need all that you are talking about between ages 22-32. Where you are just trying to live close to your job and save money, and make work commute easy and you’re working so much anyways, all you need is a bed to sleep in and a meal to cook.

    The micro unit isn’t targeting the Baby boomer crowd…and not even alot the Gen Y…because you guys are already settling. SO don’t worry…it’s not aimed at you. It’s aimed at the dmeographic i explained above…and we will continue to have these fresh out of college young professionals…and I think it will become a stage/time (just like a college dorm) where you say I did it…but I’m over it…as you get older you need more and more of that…

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