Queens apartment sizes getting smaller: report

Smaller Apartments
Photo courtesy of Douglas Elliman

Queens is shrinking.

Maybe not geographically, but new rental apartments in the borough tend to be smaller studios and one-bedrooms as opposed to larger two- and three-bedroom apartments, according to a report released Thursday by Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Smaller apartments took more of the market share in November when compared to October, as well as when compared to November of 2013, according to the firm’s monthly analysis, which tracks rentals in northwest Queens.

In November, 76 percent of new apartments were studios and one bedrooms, compared to 71 percent in October, and just 60 percent in November of last year.

“The majority of renters, particularly younger renters, are very sensitive to price thresholds,” said Clifford Finn, executive vice president of new rentals at Douglas Elliman. “Construction costs increased, land costs increased, and in general, unless you’re dealing with a specific building that is catering to a real luxury market or large apartment market, the majority of your run-of-the-mill rentals cater to a somewhat younger crowd. The apartments are getting a little tighter so that the rents don’t go up too much.”

But although the sizes of apartments are shrinking, values have continued to increase.

Rent price per square foot increased 8.2 percent to $40.96 dollars in November from $38.27 during the same month last year, according to the report.

To sell these smaller apartments, Finn said owners have begun to market larger common spaces and building amenities in new developments.

“A lot of the newer rental buildings have really stepped up their amenity programming and their common areas by providing bigger and more functional common spaces,” Finn said. “By having that space that you can leave your apartment, you need less of your apartment so its enabling us to market smaller apartments. People are looking at these amenity spaces as almost part of their apartments.”

Since smaller apartments still have lower rents than bigger ones, average rents in November decreased, the survey found. The average renter paid $2,681 in November, which is 9.5 percent lower than last year, when the average price was $2,963.

And of course, renters will still be better off with Queens prices than those of some other boroughs. Median rents in Queens were $710 less than those in Manhattan and $423 less than those in Brooklyn, according to the report.

Read the full report here.