Mar 16, 2023 - Real Estate

Richmond apartments are getting smaller

Data: RentCafe analysis of Yardi Matrix data; Note: Analysis includes U.S. metro areas (defined by Yardi Matrix market boundaries) with the most apartments located in multi-family buildings of 50 units or more; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Richmond apartments are shrinking — and now rank among the smallest in the country, according to a new report from RentCafe.

Why it matters: Apartment sizes are getting smaller nationally, a reversal in the rental market that saw unit sizes grow during the early part of the work-from-home era.

Zoom in: The average size of newer Richmond apartments is 812 square feet, 8.5% smaller than the 2022 national average of 887 square feet, per the report from listing service RentCafe.

  • Richmond's average is only 72 square feet larger than the average new apartment in Manhattan.
  • We rank at No. 14 in cities with the smallest apartments.
  • Of note: At the local level, researchers considered new apartments those units built between 2013 and 2022.

The intrigue: With an average size of 1,006 square feet, Virginia Beach has some of the largest new apartments in the nation.

The big picture: Nationwide, newly built apartments shed 30 square feet on average in 2022 compared to 2021, per the report.

  • That sharp decrease was fueled in part by more studios and one-bedroom apartments entering the market, researchers found, analyzing the 100 metro areas with the most high-density buildings.

Flashback: In 2020 and 2021, demand for more space resulted in larger unit configurations, RentCafe analyst Adina Dragos tells Axios.

  • "Fast forward to 2022, the demand for more apartments prompted developers to accommodate more units in their projects," Dragos says.
  • Case in point: 57% of apartments completed across the U.S. last year were small units (studios and one-bedrooms).

What we're watching: Apartments under construction. As the market keeps fluctuating post-pandemic, their size could signal whether the trend of smaller rentals will stick.


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