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Apartments Get “One Home Office Larger” as More Renters Work from Home

As a result of work-at-home, demand for extra room in apartments is on the rise.
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Home Office

The RentCafe analyzed floor plans of apartments in 92 cities and found that after a decade of shrinking apartments floor plans are suddenly getting bigger.

Key Details 

  • 36% of cities are currently building larger apartments than before with most of them (51%) upsizing 2-bedroom apartments.
  • Larger apartments increased by nearly 50 sq. ft., on average — a generous space for an apartment, especially nowadays when more people are working from home.
  • 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments are expanding in size in almost half of the cities analyzed, with the latter adding a whopping 105 sq. ft. to its average size.
  • The average increase in apartment size in the locations that are already building larger units is 48 sq. ft. — just enough for a small home office, a bathroom or some other type of living space that can provide a lifestyle upgrade for renters spending more time at home. 

Work-at-Home or Something Else?

When I first started reading I was wondering how much of this was related to work-at-home vs rising wages or boomer downsizing from single family housing.

Others speculate as well as.

Daryl Spradley, Senior Vice President of Charles Wayne Consulting, Inc. says that while some places experience an upsizing trend, it’s still too early to know for sure whether it’s an effect of the pandemic or not. He argues that this growth in size is triggered by developers who are addressing “renters by choice” and “digital nomads” — people with high income who choose not to buy, but to rent, due to various reasons linked to lifestyle, such as mobility.

“The number of people that earn over $100,000 a year is significantly higher than it was 2 or 3 years ago. Those are renters, but obviously renters by choice because they can go out and buy a house”, Spradley said.

Floor Plan Average Increase

Apartments Reverse Decades-Long Shrinking
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If rooms are just getting bigger, that's one thing. Adding a home office is another. Things vary by location.

Averages confuse things. 28 square foot on average is enough for a 56 square foot home office addition in one unit and no extra space in another. 

Location Variances

  • Everett, WA apartments are an extra 267 extra square feet larger 
  • Kirkland, WA apartments have an extra 211 extra square feet
  • Scottsdale, AZ has 208 more square feet 
  • Midland, TX has an extra 182 additional square fee
  • West Palm Beach, FL. apartments are only 1 extra square foot larger.

The Microsoft headquarters in Redmond is about a half hour away from Everett and just 4 miles away from Kirkland.  

Boeing has 35,000 employees in Everett. Microsoft has over 50,000 in Redmond.

The new apartments in Everett will have an average size of 1,195 sq. ft., compared to just 928 sq. ft. previously which was the average size of apartments completed in the last decade.

The Midland, Texas Business Directory shows Midland is home to dozens of major energy corporations. 

In contrast, of the the Top Employers in West Palm Beach County, the school district, is far and away the largest followed by health care, then county government.