Manhattan apartments are bigger now than a decade ago

February 23, 2023

Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

Believe it or not, new apartments in Manhattan are getting bigger. Despite being notorious for its small, compact apartments, Manhattan rentals actually gained an average of 19 square feet since 2013, an increase of 3 percent, according to new data released this week by RentCafe. The borough is an outlier when looking at the rest of the country, where newly constructed units continue to shrink in size, and even compared to other parts of New York City. The average space of new rentals in Brooklyn and Queens decreased by seven percent over the last decade, costing renters roughly 45 square feet.

Chart courtesy of RentCafe

While the size of rental apartments in Manhattan has increased, the average size of newly built apartments across the United States decreased by 54 square feet in the last decade, down from 941 square feet in 2013 to 887 square feet in 2022, according to data from RentCafe. This decrease in size can be attributed to the creation of more studios and one-bedroom apartments in 2022, which reached a historic 57 percent share of the market.

However, Manhattan apartments, both old and new, are still smaller than apartments in Queens and Brooklyn. The average size of all apartments in Manhattan is 721 square feet, compared to 737 square feet in Brooklyn and 727 square feet in Queens.

One reason Manhattan apartments have experienced these gains is due to the creation of new luxury residential developments in the borough over the last ten years. Many of the new high-end units in Manhattan have a majority of two or more bedroom layouts, which could have contributed to the higher size average, according to the report.

Another contributing factor to the growth is a desire for more space that was brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, although the number of new homes added since 2020 is relatively small, as Crain’s reported.

While the size of Manhattan apartments has increased slightly over the last decade, rents increased dramatically. Over the last year, the record for average rent within the borough has been broken multiple times, with the median rent in Manhattan exceeding $5,000/month for the first time ever in June 2022.

In January 2023, the median rent in Manhattan sat at $4,097/month, a record-high for the month and the third-highest record overall. The median rental price for a Manhattan apartment was $3,550/month in January 2022.


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