How much space do you need?
Do you prefer a palace of an apartment? Or could you live in a micro unit that’s barely big enough to spin around in?
When it comes to apartment size in the United States, the traditional wisdom has been that bigger is better. But in different countries across the globe, tiny apartment spaces are typical.
Find out how your apartment square footage stacks up to the rest of the world. Take a look at how a few countries compare to the United States regarding average apartment living space.
Who’s got the most square footage?
According to information shared on the website Apartment Therapy, Americans enjoy some of the largest homes in the world. A British organization studied home sizes worldwide, determining that Americans typically enjoy the most square footage and usable floor space. Australia’s homes came in second. And British homes came in last, averaging a paltry 818 square feet for a two-person household.
Space is certainly at a premium in the United Kingdom. While that 818 square feet figure may seem small at first, it appears more generous when you consider what it’s like to live in some of the most populous urban centers in Asia. In Hong Kong, China, for instance, micro apartments are the trend, if not the rule. Rent is high in this bustling metropolis, and space comes at a premium. It’s not uncommon for renters to live in less than 400 square feet. Busy business travelers can even rent 7-square-foot apartment “pods” — spaces just big enough to crawl in and sleep — for around $40 a month. In places like Hong Kong, space itself is the luxury.
Average U.S. apartment size
Back in this country, apartment floor space has certainly seen its share of changes. Apartment sizes in the United States grew for many years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which has been tracking the average apartment size since the 1970s. Their records show that square footage continued to grow — until recently.
According to Multifamily Executive, as of 2013, the average apartment size today is 982 square feet. Along the West Coast in places like Seattle, Washington, or in Texas towns like Dallas and Houston, apartment sizes are shrinking. Micro apartments are also showing up in large cities like New York and San Francisco, where space is truly at a premium.
Though most developers are building smaller units, not all cities across the United States are following the trend. In Washington, D.C., apartment living spaces are actually getting bigger, for instance, even in a high-demand market.
Photo credit: Shutterstock / Domen Colja, Rade Kovac