Real estate

Small and Perfectly Formed?

Inside A Henderson Land Micro-Apartment Show Home
Just don't go swinging any cats. Source: Bloomberg

In the last few years, the digital boom has not only made our lives more virtual, it has also changed the way we live – literally. So-called Millennials, the young and affluent generation of digital natives spawned from Silicon Valley and Manhattan, increasingly eschew cooking for online delivery services, rely on mobility providers such as Uber to travel and are happy to consume media wherever they are.

This means kitchens, commuting and living rooms are no longer deal breakers, resulting in a serious shift in the housing market: Location is becoming more important than square footage or amenities.

The trend has spread to Germany, with investors adding to the general real estate boom by piling into the market for so-called micro-apartments, small, furnished apartments with a bare minimum of facilities targeted at students, graduates and weekend commuters. But the rush into the market has possible implications.

It wasn’t so long ago that a one-room or studio apartment in the country was considered difficult to rent. “At the beginning of the 2000s, the supply of smaller apartments was still being cut by joining them together or demolishing them,” says Stefan Brauckmann, the director of the Moses Mendelssohn Institute, which specializes in the analysis of real estate markets. But since then “a reversal in trend is evident,” he says. In a current study, his firm looked at housing construction activity in Germany and found that micro-apartments are booming.

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