When it comes to living in the city, when is too small considered way too small? For many, confined living was limited only to a shared dormitory experience while attending university or for that brief time when first moving to the city. However, with demand for living in the District rising, there has been an increase in efficient living as the supply of developable land is limited. Developers across the area have begun to design condominium and apartment buildings that capitalize on efficiency while giving the resident access to some of the most desirable locations in the District.
Micro-units, for those who haven’t yet heard of the trend, are typically 250-400 square foot livable apartments, and are on the rise in the District. Whereas the typical studio or one bedroom condominium has about 450-550 square feet, micro-units are designed to combine even more amenities into a smaller space. Surprisingly, most have all the features a normal livable unit would have: 2-in-1 washer and dryer units, enough space for a queen size bed, and full kitchen appliances.
Recently, there has been a push for micro-unit living across D.C. and the surrounding areas. Take for example the newly approved micro-units to be built this year in Blagden Alley. These 121 units will be in the heart of D.C. and within just minutes of the Metro. Another great example in the past year is The Harper, 144 micro-units that were recently released in Logan Circle. These projects demonstrate that micro living is becoming more of a norm within the District.
Of course, the first question that anyone would have about micro living might just start with, “Why would I ever want to live in a tiny space?” For many, the answers are quite simple: functionality and design. Many older buildings in D.C. have been altered in some way to accommodate their current structure. For example, some condominium buildings may have been repurposed or rezoned at some point in their lifetime, and thus their current use was not their original. Modern micro-units have been designed for only this purpose. Thus, the quality of finishes may be higher in these buildings, a big positive for those who like contemporary finishes in their home.
Now, what about the drawbacks of micro-unit style living? Of course, this style of living might not be for everyone. Micro unit buildings may have limits on pets due to the space, and many have constraints on parking for residents with cars. As with most urban projects, cost is quite high even in such small spaces. Typical rents for micro-unit projects in Logan Circle are still at or above $1,800 for just less than 350 square feet of space. However, this cost of living also comes with the ability to have the most desirable parts of the city outside your door.
Sure, micro-units certainly do not allow the owner to grow into the space, but with the right vision and emphasis on downsizing one’s life into about 400 square feet, the advantages of micro living may be surprising. With space being a limited commodity in the District, I believe we will continue to see an increase in micro-unit living.
Tim Savoy is a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Dupont Circle. Reach him at 202-400-0534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.