Big city, tiny apartment: small-scale living is new trend in U.S

Sun Jun 2, 2013 9:41am EDT
 
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By Elaine Porterfield

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Aaron McConnell doesn't mind sharing a kitchen with seven neighbors. He's fine in living quarters with just enough room for a twin bed, a corner desk and little else. Closets? Forget about it - he stores his clothing and other possessions on shelves and hooks.

McConnell's small-scale home life is part of a hot trend in U.S. real estate - micro apartments.

"I like living in a community," he says. "It's kind of fun, very social."

It's also affordable for McConnell, 28, who pays $737 a month for his apartment in Seattle as he embarks on a career in civil engineering.

Tiny apartments like McConnell's are cropping up in major cities around the country to meet the demand of people who are short on cash but determined to live in areas with otherwise pricey rents.

Micros, also known as "hostel-style" apartments, usually offer less than 200 square feet (18.5 square meters) including private bathrooms, and they typically come furnished, sometimes with built-in beds and other amenities to save space.

Most feature a group kitchen that may be shared among eight units, although units in McConnell's complex are equipped with microwave ovens and small refrigerators. They also include Internet connections and utilities in the price of the rent. There are no elevators.

Few come with parking, but McConnell has a street parking pass for his neighborhood that is close to Seattle University and several of the city's major hospitals.   Continued...

 
Jon-Christian Stubblefield relaxes inside of his 200 square foot Mini-Suite apartment in the First Hill neighborhood in Seattle, Washington May 12, 2013. REUTERS/Nick Adams