|Trend No. 1: Microapartments are the tiny homes of cities
Everyone knows space doesn’t come cheap in the country’s most expensive cities. (We’re looking at you, San Francisco and New York.) Hence the spread of microapartments—fully appointed living spaces encompassing a measly 250 to 365 square feet.
The apartments are tinier than tiny houses—measuring a quarter to a third the size of the median apartment in a newly completed building with five or more units in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
More and more of these miniature dwellings are cropping up in big cities like New York, Seattle, and Los Angeles. They’re even spreading to smaller metros like Providence, RI.
What they lack in size, microapartments make up for in lower costs—usually. They typically run renters about 15% less than studio units in the same neighborhoods. But residents may wind up paying a little extra for the luxe amenities that many come with, like convertible furniture, free Wi-Fi, weekly housekeeping service, and sometimes even communal activities (whitewater rafting trips! happy hours!).
Trend No. 2: Co-living is coming to a city near you
The days of finding roommates on Craigslist and then praying for the best may be numbered. Co-living, a movement in which young professionals have their next housemates/BFFs carefully screened and live together in upscale, highly planned (would-be) harmony, is making its impact felt in major metros across the U.S.
The real draw for these “Real World”-esque quarters is the communal environment, where residents pay a little extra to mix and mingle with one another at Sunday artisanal potluck dinners, weekend art workshops, or various common spaces in the building. Other perks include shorter leases (some only three or six months) as well as housekeeping services to minimize disputes.
The spaces have been opening first in hipster-filled urban areas such as Brooklyn, NY; San Francisco; and Washington, DC. But they are also moving to smaller metros like Chattanooga, TN.
“It’s a neat, innovative market response to the higher cost of renting,” Susan Wachter, a real estate and finance professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, told realtor.com.
Trend No. 3: The hottest tiny houses are school buses
School bus loft
It’s a loft on wheels. And just look at that view! Don’t worry about the seat belts.
The tiny-house craze isn’t exactly new. With a half-dozen or so reality TV shows and a devoted following, the trend of downsizing into just a few hundred square feet is familiar to just about everyone. But why move into a tiny house when you could live in a school bus instead?
Trend No. 4: Housing prices are out of control, so why not live in a yurt?
With rents and home prices zooming ever higher, affordable housing seems like a fantasy. That’s where yurts come in.
These circular homes, which have sheltered Mongolian nomads for thousands of years, can cost quite a bit less than more traditional homes. (A roughly 700-square-foot model with a wooden frame and vinyl walls could go for around $20,000. That doesn’t include the foundation and utilities hookups.)
That’s a prime reason why over the past few years, sales of the structures have grown by about 10% annually at the Colorado Yurt Co., Ivy Fife, the company’s marketing manager, told realtor.com.
“We’ve seen quite a few retirees buy a piece of ground and put a yurt on it and get out of debt and have a little bit more freedom,” she said.