Small apartments may help NYC apartment situation

Apartments may be getting smaller in New York City.

Due to a large portion of Americans looking toward one- and two-person dwellings, building planners in New York City have requested the development of smaller apartments, according to The Associated Press.

The move could help commercial property managers gain more tenants in a saturated market, as New York has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country.

New York City's plan is to test micro-units of 300 square feet, the news source noted. The program could change a city statute that forces all dwellings to be no less than 400 square feet, and could help attract those with little money, along with older couples and young professionals who don't need larger spaces.

The city's real estate market has some of the highest prices in the country for rentals, according to the AP. Also, more than 46 percent of households with in Manhattan have just one person, which is the highest level in the country. A total of three-quarters of Manhattan homes have one or two people living there, and this figure is growing. Living alone has not only been a theme in the city, but it is gaining popularity across the United States. More than 25 percent of people are practicing this.

When it comes to the city itself, some don't like the idea, as it may suggest that it is just a way to house a large number of poor residents in uncomfortable and unsafe rental areas, according to the news source. However, Mayor Michael Bloomberg refuted this notion.

"The tenement problem was big families in very small (spaces)," Bloomberg explained to the news source. "We're not talking about that. We're talking about one or two people who want something they can afford, and they don't entertain or need big space."

While studio apartments can be quite pricey in Manhattan, the aim for these new micro-units is to help out affordability for many consumers, the news source noted. Studio apartments have an average rent of $2,000 per month, while one-bedroom setups go for around $2,700.

"The general attitude toward space and how we use space is very different in New York City," Kerri White, a director for housing advocacy group Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, told the news source. "People are used to living in smaller quarters."

The news source added that New York is not the only city that has tried to implement smaller apartment options. San Francisco has some developers looking to create apartments with as little as 150 square feet of space.

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