Micro-Apartments are the Next Big Thing in Boston – Here’s Why

Microapartments in Boston

Dec 4

Ever heard of a micro-apartment? It’s just what it sounds like — an apartment on a micro level, and they are growing in popularity.  In many urban spaces, excess is out and minimalism is in.  That is especially true in Boston.  High real estate prices are certainly a big factor driving this trend, as high demand for living spaces close to the city is met with limited inventory and space. These sectioned off living units are a great option for individuals who prefer living on their own close to the city. Average rent prices in Boston can be high for 1 bedrooms and even many studio apartments near the city, but micro-apartments offer an affordable alternative for renters.

Tiny houses move over. Micro-apartments are coming to Boston!

What You Should Know About Micro-Apartments

If you’re in the market for Boston apartments, you know how difficult it can be to find an affordable place that’s also close to your job near the city. Micro-apartments provide the perfect solution.

Micro-apartments in Boston fall under a new pilot program launched by the city. This program gives clearance for housing developers to create micro units within the city. The goal is once again to create affordable housing with improved furnishings and amenities for residents. Housing developers can fit more units into smaller areas and cater to a growing demographic who don’t require much space.  For developers, it’s a great way to maximize profit per square foot as your able to create more sellable housing units within a building, so there’s plenty of incentives for investors to buy in. 

Prior to this pilot program, there were square footage minimums that were city-mandated.   These were originally put in place to prevent landlord abuse and/or poor living conditions for residents, but new regulations prevent this from occurring.  This has allowed the city housing board to ease restrictions on size and give developers more freedom in their building designs.   Now, micro-apartments can be built under these square-footages:

  • Two bedrooms less than 850 square feet
  • One bedrooms less than 625 square feet
  • Studios less than 450 square feet

Why Is Micro-Apartment Living Popular?

In Boston, it’s well-known that micro-apartments are trending upward. Investors have caught wind, and there is an increasing number of developers that are jumping at the chance to get involved.  By why is it so popular among buyers and renters?

1.  Lower Cost

Of course, the very first benefit that comes to mind when discussing micro-apartments is the cost of living. In Boston, a standard one bedroom apartment or studio can be extremely expensive — and the cost is directly correlated with it’s proximity to the city:  the closer you are to downtown, the higher the average price.  

As the city continues to attract new residents, many newcomers don’t have many local connections that they can utilize who can help them find a roommate or rooms for rent close to Boston.  This pushes many to shop for studios and 1-bedrooms, and many end up getting priced out of neighborhoods close the city.  The addition of micro-apartments to these areas give these people an affordable living option that is closer to the action of downtown Boston, which is attractive to many.

2.  Ease of maintenance

Tired of cleaning a huge apartment? Micro apartments are much easier to maintain because they’re simply less living space to clean! And if you employ some ingenuity in designing your place, you’ll also find that you can come up with great storage options. For example, choose a couch that pulls out into a bed. Find ottomans and chairs that double for storage.

3.  Reduced Cost of Utilities

Keep in mind that the rest of your bills are going to be lower in addition to your rent. For example, if you regularly pay for heating, electric, and/or water, all of these costs will go down in a smaller apartment. You’ll be paying less for other things as well — including decorations, lighting, and furniture.

4.  Lifestyle Options

For some, a micro-apartment may be a chosen compromise, opting to cut down on housing costs to save money for other things, such as buying a home or going out and enjoy some of the finer things Boston has to offer.   For those that spend a majority of their time away from home, they simply don’t require and large and comfortable living space because they are rarely there to enjoy it.  

More many people, micro-apartment living can seem strange or even inhumane.   But the reality is that there is a sizable portion of people who are more than just ok with it, they actually prefer it.  They value living beneath their means and reducing their footprint and consumption, and a micro-apartment is a perfect way for them to do so.  As this way of thinking continues to grow in popularity, so will the demand for micro-apartments, especially in larger markets such as Boston. 


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