Victor’s Insider Scoop on Are Micro Apartments Going to Work in Phoenix?
May 17th, 2013 | top of page

If you haven’t spent any time in Boston, New York, or San Francisco recently you may be wondering “What’s a micro apartment?” Even if that’s the case you’ve probably seen a few trendsetters driving around in those Smart Cars. So imagine a Smart Car that you live in and you’ll start to get the picture.

Typ. Interior of Micro Unit

Conceived in high density downtowns where the average rent for a studio apartment can run you around $2000 per month, the micro apartment is a relatively more affordable option for urbanites who are picky about where they choose to live. For $1200-$1500 per month (remember I said relatively) a young professional can better afford to live where they want.

Roughly two in five persons are now living alone. For a young, active, urban Millenial who’s probably recently left a university dorm situation, living without the prying eyes of roommates has to be appealing.

Micro Unit by Day

So what exactly is micro you ask? Think 220 to 350 square feet. That includes the bathroom, kitchen, and closet which leaves you a living area about the size of a cruise-ship cabin. Some areas have multiple uses. For example, your queen size (Murphy) bed folds out onto what was your dining room table.

If size isn’t important to a micro apartment resident, what is? It turns out it’s amenities and flexibility on lease terms. Complexes will typically have lots of bicycle parking but no car parking. And they’ll have communal recreation areas that encourage residential camaraderie ameliorate the Spartan units. Elaborate lobbies and a built in cafe are also common as are meeting spaces for entrepreneurs. Extra attention is also paid to sound-proofing since a small space is more appealing when you don’t have to listen to your neighbours.

The biggest factor that determines the successful adoption of the micro complex is the type of lifestyle that’s lived outside of the resident’s individual unit.

Micro Unit by Night

The development of micro unit complexes usually requires cities to rethink their zoning ordinances that control the minimum size of dwellings. Cities can benefit from adopting new ordinances through an increased tax base. Neighborhoods benefit from an increase in the number of residents who in turn benefit from the social dynamics of density.

This is not to say that micro complex after micro complex is a good thing. Prudent city planning should also dictate that they be woven into a traditional residential dwelling landscape.

I’ve also noted that in Providence, R. I. an enterprising developer has converted an abandoned indoor shopping mall into a micro unit complex.

So, back to my original question of whether micro apartments are viable in Phoenix. Since studio and one bedroom apartments in Phoenix aren’t commanding the rents seen in New York, Boston, or San Francisco my first blush answer is no. But, there are likely downtown residents who’d trade their $750 per month trendy studio for an extra $100 per week of spending money if they could find a micro for $350 per month. And, if a developer can pack three micros into the space of a one bedroom there could be an economy of scale to turn that into a profitable venture.

It’s certainly worth a look.


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PS – If you are ready to begin to thrive again by getting off the sidelines and putting your money to work give me a call at 602-320-6200. I see lots of deals and may have just what you are looking for.

2 Comments on “Victor’s Insider Scoop on Are Micro Apartments Going to Work in Phoenix?”

  • Lily September 24th, 2013 4:06 pm

    I live in Phoenix and I would completely consider a micro apartment at $350 a month! It’s great for people who don’t need a lot of space, people who spend a good amount of their time outside their homes.

  • christopher johnson September 22nd, 2014 6:39 pm

    please make this happen this would b great for people with low incomes or child support

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