As Developers Favor Large Apartments, Studio Prices Are on the Rise

February 6, 2015

Studio 505N at 540 West 49th Street, available for $815,000 via Halstead

As anyone who lives in a studio apartment can tell you, it’s often the best–if not the only–way to live without a roommate in New York. But with developers finding it much more profitable to build large apartments, studio apartments may be heading to extinction. And those existing one-room units are seeing steep price increases as demand is outpacing supply.

As the Daily News reports, “Listings for new studios compose just 4% of the units in Manhattan — down from 15% in 2013… As of January, just 30 such apartments were on the market, compared with 161 in January 2012.” The median price for a new Manhattan studio rose over the past year to $930,000, a whopping 60 percent increase. Comparatively, the median price for a new one-bedroom unit rose 30 percent and for a two-bedroom home it dropped by 11 percent.

Marnie Michaels, Girls
Character Marnie’s studio apartment on the hit HBO show Girls

The term “studio” was supposedly coined back in the 1920s as a way to make the tiny spaces seem more appealing, and since they’ve become mainstream through appearances on the likes of Sex & the City and Girls, buyers find them even more romantic. Up until recently, it was studios and one bedrooms that made up the bulk of the New York City housing stock, with singles and couples serving as the target demographic. But now it’s shifting, and the once hard-to-find multi-bedroom unit is taking over.

The reason why is pretty simple–it doesn’t cost much more to build a large apartment than it does a studio, but developers can get a higher price per square foot for the bigger family units. It’s also an image issue; swanky new developments don’t want to market themselves to first-time home buyers who may also be more transient. New buildings like 30 Park Place in Tribeca, the Adeline in Harlem, and 345 Carroll Street in Carroll Gardens will offer zero studios. On the other hand, new buildings that do have studios, like 325 Lexington Avenue and 540 West 49th Street, are seeing them fly off the shelves. So while it may not be a good time to be a buyer in pursuit of a studio, it most certainly is a good time to unload your tiny space.

[Via NYDN]

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