Mar 15, 2023 - Real Estate

New Seattle apartments are some of the country's smallest

Average size of new apartments
Caption: 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 multifamily buildings of 50 units or more; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

New apartments in and around Seattle have much less square footage than the national average, with new units built here ranking among the smallest in the country.

Why it matters: Apartment sizes are shrinking nationally, despite a trend that saw rental units get bigger during the early part of the work-from-home era.

By the numbers: The average size of newer Seattle apartments is 659 square feet, about 26% smaller than the 2022 national average of 887 square feet, per a new report from listing service RentCafe.

  • Among 100 metro areas analyzed, the Seattle region had the smallest-sized new units, according to RentCafe's analysis.

The big picture: Nationwide, newly built apartments shed 30 square feet on average 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 units.

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: Fifty-seven percent of apartments completed last year were small units across the U.S.

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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