Tucson downtown city skyline with mountains at twilight.
Tucson No. 1 in nation for increase in size of apartments
If you’ve recently searched for a rental and got the feeling that new apartments are getting tinier, you got it right. According to our new analysis, the average size of newly built apartments has decreased by 54 square feet – from 941 square feet 10 years prior to 887 in 2022. But that's not the case for Tucson apartments. The size of apartments in Tucson increased the most – by 300 square feet, which is 29% more than 10 years prior.
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The post-pandemic apartment market has seen significant fluctuations from one year to another, including oscillations in the size of new apartments. From the need for more space in 2020 to the need for more homes in 2022, the rising demand for rentals is affecting the size of newly built apartments. In fact, in 2022, the average apartment size was 887 square feet. That’s 54 square feet less than 10 years ago, when rentals measured 941 square feet, on average. But, the sharpest drop in one year was in 2022, when the average size went from 917 to 887 — a difference of 30 square feet.
With this in mind, we looked at the most significant changes in apartment size in the 100 largest U.S. cities, using data from Yardi Matrix.
Notably, last year's decrease comes after the two pandemic years, 2020 and 2021, when the average size of new apartments actually increased. Once again, this confirmed the developers' quick response to the need for more space during the pandemic, as they adjusted floorplans in order to accommodate large enough configurations to fit a home office. Yet, 2022 presented a different story: With one of the highest levels of construction in half a century, the year was marked by the need for more housing all across the country. As such, more studios and one-bedroom apartments were finished in 2022 than ever before. In fact, the share of smaller units reached a historic high of 57% in 2022 — a significant change compared to 10 years ago, when they represented exactly half of apartments built.
Apartments in the South are the largest, while the Pacific Northwest claims the smallest
Everything is bigger in the South, and that clearly includes apartment space: In 2022, the average size of an apartment here was 993 square feet. That means that renters in the South enjoyed an extra 106 square feet compared to the national average. On the other hand, renters in the Pacific Northwest had the least amount of space with only 776 square feet — 111 less than the national average apartment size.
According to data from our 2018 report, a shift seems to have taken place: The Pacific Northwest has overtaken California as the region with the least amount of apartment space. Now, renters in California can make use of an average of 876 square feet.
Tallahassee apartments boast the most space in the nation — & they're getting bigger
Although renters in Texas usually have the privilege of living in the largest apartments, Tallahassee, FL, was the #1 city out of 100 analyzed in terms of apartment living space. At 1,182 square feet, Tallahassee apartments offered renters 295 extra square feet compared to the national average — that's the size of almost three small home offices. Moreover, compared to 10 years ago, the apartment size here has increased by 16.2% or 191 square feet, which is approximately the size of two small home offices.
And, according to our 2022 local competitivity report, apartments in Tallahassee were in high demand. This makes sense given that residents here (27% of whom would fall into the category of young professionals in need of a home office) enjoyed the most apartment space of the 100 cities on our list.
Staying in the Sunshine state, apartments in Gainesville, FL, were next on the list with 1,105 square feet in size, or about 218 square feet of extra space more than the national average. That's enough for two small home offices, which young professionals — enticed by the city's business-friendly climate — would certainly appreciate. In the last 10 years, this number increased by 11.4% or 126 square feet.
Leaving Florida, we moved to Mobile, AL, where the average size of an apartment was 1,080 square feet. This means that, in 2022, renters living in the Azalea City enjoyed 193 square feet of extra space after having expanded in size by 188 square feet or 17.4%.
Next up, apartments in Knoxville, TN, completed in 2022 had an average size of 1,075 square feet. When compared to the national average, this revealed that renters in one of Tennessee's best college towns benefited from an extra 188 of space. Compared to 10 years ago, that's an expansion of 16.5% or 177 square feet.
Rounding out the top five, were Marietta, GA, apartments with an average of 1,060 square feet of space. This offered renters an extra 173 square feet — the equivalent of 1.5 small home offices. Of course, compared to other cities, Marietta's increase in size was more modest at 35 square feet or 3.3%.
Apartments in Tucson have increased the most in size, by 300 square feet
With the average size of apartments in Tucson, AZ, increasing by 300 square feet (29%), renters here enjoyed the biggest gain in terms of space out of all 100 cities on our list. Moreover, the average size of new apartments during the last 10 years here was 1,037 square feet. This makes Tucson one of the best cities for renters who need the extra space.
Likewise, Cleveland apartments saw the second-largest increase in size, growing by 171 square feet, on average. They were followed by Newark, NJ, apartments, which upsized by 169 square feet (or 19% in both cases).
To the south, Mobile, AL, apartments had the fourth-largest 10-year increase in size, offering renters an extra 188 square feet (17%), along with Wichita, KS, where renters gained 162 square feet more apartment space (also 17%).