I get it if living in a 250-square-foot apartment doesn’t sound appealing to you. Nonetheless, the micro-living phenomenon has continued to grow in the past few years. According to a Census report, in 2012, 27% of U.S. households were single-people households. This was a jump from 17% of single-person households in 1970. Pair this trend with the rising costs of living expenses, and you can understand why micro-living is booming. In many growing, urban cities, like Chicago and San Francisco, micro-apartments have become the solution to housing shortages.
New York City’s Carmel Place, for example, is a nine-story tower of micro-apartments that offers 55 units at 265 square feet each. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s staff reports that they’ve received more than 60,000 applications for these tiny dwellings, which will cost between $2,650 and $3,150 for renters. Carmel Place is a clear example of the growing interest and demand in micro-living.
Even in less populated cities like Detroit, mico-apartment buildings are popping up. Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert’s company is building 219 units, which are about 325 square feet each, to accommodate the growing population in the city’s downtown. The units are expected to open by early spring and will rent for $650 each.
Charlane Hill, 25, works as a human resources professional and is living with family in Detroit after moving from her micro-apartment in Seattle. She says she loved her tiny living experience and would do it all again if she could. Hill replaced her desktop computer with a laptop and made many other changes to shift to her micro-apartment.
If you’re wondering what all of the buzz is about, read on to discover some benefits to micro-living.
Price is Right
“I chose micro-living because my complex offered short-term leases and relatively low rents,” Hill said. “It was an affordable option that allowed me to live [in] downtown Seattle without a roommate.”
Less living space requires fewer furnishings and provides renters with a cost savings when it comes to their lower monthly utility bills. Plus, the price tag on a micro-apartment can often mean a $400 to $1,500 monthly rent savings depending on your region of the country.
“I think micro-apartments really appeal to younger people because some are already saddled with student loans and the costs you incur when you begin living on your own,” she said. “They’re looking for more affordable alternatives.”
Some renters use their monthly cost savings to boost their personal savings or splurge on things they love to do, like traveling the world.
The simple life is something more people are striving to achieve. The more space we have, the more tempted we are to fill it with unnecessary stuff. Micro-apartments help to fight that urge.
Hill said that her dorm-like quarters forced her to be more efficient with her time and money, too.
“It’s not like I was able to just shove things in the back of my bedroom closet anymore,” she says about her old 180-square-foot micro-studio. “I had to think twice about everything because my home was a fraction of what I was used to.”
It was a liberating experience to live in a clean and clutter-free zone, she said.
“I had to downsize in order to move in, but I viewed it as a good thing,” she said. “Living in a small space made me more aware of my possessions. There was no room for piles of clothes or boxes of junk that I had before.”
In recent years, more building developers and businesses have been growing conscious about the environment. Many micro-apartment complexes are being built to save energy and use water more efficiently. The complexes often use a lot less light, heat and energy. It’s an attractive benefit that allows renters to lessen their carbon footprint.
“My old complex was a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certified building and used eco-friendly flooring and lighting throughout. I loved that it also had a recycling center,” Hill said.
Sense of Community
Revitalized neighborhoods in urban areas benefit greatly from micro-apartment complexes because they create an infusion of new people and residents who benefit from the social dynamics of a tight-knit community. On the inside, many complexes include retail shops, elaborate lobbies and spacious common areas that encourage residential camaraderie.
“You have a lot of people in one space, but it helped me get to know my neighbors,” Hill said about living in a micro-apartment. “Beyond the fact that my complex had a convenient gym, I also tended to patronize the businesses in my immediate area.”
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