clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Boston Micro-Apartments Are Real Estate Vampires

New, 13 comments

Back in September we reported the death of the Boston micro-apartment—or, at least, the micro-apartment as panacea for the city's chronic housing shortage and cartoonishly high costs of living. (Akin to Manhattan? Come on!) You heard the pitch 'round about three years ago: Public officials speaking on behalf of private developers, saying that hundreds of new units smaller than 500 square feet or so would satisfy the steady demand for housing and therefore eventually bring down costs. Pack 'em in pods, that'll do it!
There was just one huge snag: Micro-apartments turned out to have macro-rents. The city and developers would be able to stack more apartments in places such as the Seaport, but they would not necessarily be any cheaper than existing (or new) studios and 1-BRs. In some cases, Boston micro-apartments would well outpace the monthly rents of comparable apartments in the same trendier area.

And, so, the micro-apartment as housing panacea died. Yet, as evidenced by new numbers from search engine HotPads, the city still claims a goodly number of micro-apartments in all but name. Boston, in fact, has more apartments smaller than 400 square feet for rent right now than any major city in America except New York. Admittedly, many of these are part of the existing housing stock; and are essentially studios by another name (or innovation units). And they're still pricey: Boston's median micro-apartment rent of $1,600, according to HotPads, ties it with New York; and both trail only San Francisco. So, like some very boring vampire, Boston micro-apartments appear to be immortal no matter how many forks we stick in them.
· Small Apartments Continue To Be A Growing Trend [HotPads]
· Manhattanization of Boston Real Estate Continues Unabated [Curbed Boston]
· Whatever Happened to Micro-Apartments in Boston? [Curbed Boston]
· Boston Micro-Apartments Confront Macro-Economics [Curbed Boston]
· Innovation District's 'Call for Housing' Answered by 212 Number [Curbed Boston]
· Hub Micro-Apartments: Follow the Money and the Rest Is Noise [Curbed Boston]