Micro-apartments were pegged as the solution to Boston’s issues with housing affordability…but are they?
It seems like a perfectly logical strategy at the time: incentivize developers to construct hundreds of new micro-apartments – small, compact living spaces of 400 square feet or less – and in doing so, maximize developing lots, upping the supply of available apartments and combatting Boston’s housing affordability crisis.
The problem? Nothing of the sort has transpired in Boston.
Micro-Apartments Hardly Solve Housing Affordability Issues in Boston
As Curbed Boston recently pointed out, what has happened is, developers have put up many micro-apartments in some of Boston’s trendiest areas – and those micro-apartments have simply kept pace with the competitive rents in those areas. So although supply has ostensibly risen, it hasn’t done so to a point that Boston’s affordability has ticked down at all.
Indeed, the numbers speak for themselves. According to our recent report on Reis’ apartment analysis, rents in Boston rose 4.9 percent through 2014, coming out at an average of nearly $1,900 a month; only San Francisco and the mighty New York City boasted a higher average rent.
And again, it wasn’t from lack of trying. As our graph below demonstrates, only New York has more micro-apartments than Boston; and at $1,600 a month, San Francisco is the only city in the country with a more expensive supply of micro-units.