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How Do Micro-Unit Rents Compare to Traditional Studios?

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Photo by Max Touhey for Curbed

As the demand for housing in New York City continues to rise, one solution that city officials have proposed is relaxing the rules on minimum sizes for apartments—currently, new apartments can measure no smaller than 400 square feet. One building that's an exception to that rule is Carmel Place, NYC's first all-micro-unit building, where the largest apartment measures only 350 square feet. Interest in those apartments has been high—more than 60,000 people applied for the Kips Bay development's 14 affordable units—but how do they compare, rent-wise, to a more traditional studio? Real estate data gurus NeighborhoodX compared the rental price per square foot at Carmel Place to smaller apartments citywide, with interesting results.

Rents in the Kips Bay development begin at $2,650 for a 250-square-foot unit, which comes to about $106 per square foot, which is nearly double the neighborhood average of $57 per square foot. So what's behind the jump in price? Apartments in Carmel Place are brand-new, for one (and some are even fully furnished), but also come with a whole slew of amenities, including a residents' lounge, an apartment "manager" (sort of like a combination of a butler and a super), social events, and work-live spaces in the building. Compare that to the rental below, at 300 East 33rd Street, which is 480 square feet and rents for $2,300 per month; it's in a doorman building, with amenities like bike storage, a gym, a "party room," and more.

Outside of Kips Bay, the gap between prices per square foot narrows—in the West Village, for example, the average price is $100 per square foot, and in Soho, it's $99. Head north, though, and you can find better deals: East Harlem apartments average around $42 per square foot, for example. The data doesn't look at Brooklyn and Queens rentals, but a quick look through StreetEasy shows that prices vary across the board, with new rentals predictably commanding a higher price per square foot.

One of the criticisms of micro-apartments, particularly the ones built using modular construction, is that they're pricier to build and develop—and thus, rent out—than a traditional apartment. So are they worth the price? We'll let you be the judge.
· NeighborhoodX: Studios vs. Micro-Rentals [NeighborhoodX]
· 9 New York City Micro-Apartments That Bolster the Tiny-Living Trend [Curbed]
· Inside the Surprisingly Spacious Model Unit at NYC's First Micro Building [Curbed]
· All Microdwellings Coverage [Curbed]