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Apartments are about to get smaller. That’s a good thing

After a year in which people spent most of their time inside their own apartments and homes, one developer is betting they’re ready to start living more of their lives outside those walls. And as people reembrace the outside world, the amount of space inside their homes may soon become less important.

“We feel that gone are the days of a 950-square-foot one-bedroom with a lot of excessive space. It’s not good for the owner of the building, and a lot of the space isn’t actually functional for the resident,” says Nicholas Pantuliano, COO of PTM Partners, a developer with projects in Florida, Washington, D.C., and Queens, New York.

For projects his company is developing, that’s resulting in apartment floor plans that are around 15% smaller, he says. The difference is hard to detect, with living rooms and bedrooms that may be a foot or two narrower. But in terms of cost, these smaller footprints mean lower development and construction costs, and, more importantly, lower rents.

It’s a strategy that makes sense in hot residential markets such as Miami, Pantuliano says. His company is finishing up a 360-unit apartment building in the city’s downtown, and the average size of units is around 700 square feet. Compared to nearby projects with apartments closer to 950 square feet, the rent is hundreds of dollars cheaper. That allows more units to squeeze onto tight sites and opens the market to those who might otherwise be priced out of central neighborhoods. “So maybe a first responder or a police officer or a firefighter would be able to live in the city center, because they’re living in a more efficient apartment,” Pantuliano says.

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