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Apartment life, microstyle

By Judy Martel ·
Friday, August 30, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

In cities across the country, the new trend in living is small -- very small. So-called "micro" or "mini" apartments, totaling an average of 300 square feet, are cropping up in Manhattan, San Francisco, Seattle and dozens of other desirable, but expensive, locations.

The average micro apartment is roughly the size of a one-car garage.

The average microapartment is roughly the size of a one-car garage.

In cities such as Tokyo, where space is at a premium, the trend has taken hold. There are many reasons for the move toward extreme downsizing, but chief among them, according to experts, is the desire many single people have to live roommate-free. The other driver, of course, is soaring rent prices.

Preferences of the young and childless

Technology makes it easier to reduce clutter because so much can be stored on devices, including books, music and movies. Ryan Severino, senior economist at the research firm Reis, told USA Today that younger people are driving an "urban renaissance" because they want to live and socialize in the city. For them, space takes a backseat to location.

Builders and city officials have taken note. New York, Boston, San Francisco and Austin, Texas, are among the cities launching microapartment projects. According to USA Today, Austin is constructing a complex of 135 studios, each 400 square feet. Other cities are going much smaller. San Francisco, for example, recently approved a trial run of 375 microunits as small as 220 square feet.

Could you downsize and live in a space about the size of a one-car garage?

Keep up with your wealth and mortgages, and follow me on Twitter @JudyMartel.

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September 08, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I've lived in a studio apartment and these units appear to be well planned, low cost, and low maintenance.

September 06, 2013 at 9:34 am

Furniture is a problem. It's all huge! It's so difficult to find small or reasonably-sized furnishings.

September 06, 2013 at 6:59 am

I'm renting a house currently with my husband no children. We are planning another 4 legged friend after losing two. Small is very ideal this house is small but roomy enough for three or four.

September 03, 2013 at 11:36 am

Where can floor plans and amenity layouts be found?

September 02, 2013 at 7:07 am

I'm working on buying a house. No roommates except a 4 legged friend or 2 to share it with.
1000 sq. feet is fine with me. 220 sq.ft. is way too small. That's ridiculous! A dog house is incredibly roomy with that. I've had my fill with apartments.. UGHH !!! Time to upgrade.