The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating demand for spacious apartments as renters seek a new lease on life with extra rooms, a dedicated place for an office and more outdoor space.
RENTCafe looked at the 30 most populous metro areas to determine where the largest apartments are in each metro. The national rental listing service based its findings on the average size of apartments in buildings of 50 or more units.
At the top of the crop, the city of Johns Creek in the Atlanta metro area has the largest apartments, with an average unit size of 1,225 square feet. The second-largest apartments are in Wellington, Florida, in the Miami metro area. Lake Wylie in the Charlotte, South Carolina area has the third-most spacious apartments. These are the only cities with average apartment sizes larger than 1,200 square feet.
Sanziana Bona, a research analyst at RENTCafe, explained that in many of the 30 locations surveyed, high-end buildings—Class B and above—are dominant.
“These suburbs are not necessarily suburbs, but rather fringe areas which border the urban core cities, therefore offering the renters the possibility of living just close enough to downtown, while benefiting from a larger apartment,” she said.
When RENTCafe delved into the general location data of each of these markets, it found that the majority of the residents are Millennials or members of Generation X, and that in each of the suburbs, the average income is above the national median income. Some areas show a majority of high earners.
“This indicates how renters today don’t want to give up on the downtown completely, but also don’t want to live there either, so they look at the closest area possible,” said Bona. “Another reason why renters might be tempted to opt for these fringe areas is due to the predominance of fiber optics and digital broadband, which make these locations great for those looking to embrace a home office due to high-speed internet, and the extra space of a larger apartment.”
Looking at the densities of the cities in the study, the researchers found they are relatively lower than their core cities.
“In fact, all have lower densities than the core cities of the metros of which they are part of, by an average of 4,400 fewer people per square mile,” said Bona. “The largest difference in density is the New York metro where Avenel, New Jersey has about 23,000 fewer people per square mile than New York City. However, there are also some cases where there is a higher density in the city with the largest apartments as opposed to the core city, such as Spring Valley and Las Vegas, where there are about 1,600 more people per square mile.”
Here is the largest apartment size in the top 20 metros:
1. Johns Creek, Georgia, north of Atlanta
Average apartment size: 1,225 square feet
Atlanta average apartment size: 978 square feet
2. Wellington, Florida, north of Miami
Average apartment size: 1,208 square feet
Miami average apartment size: 890 square feet
3. Lake Wylie, South Carolina, southwest of Charlotte
Average apartment size: 1,205 square feet
Charlotte average apartment size: 941 square feet
4. Pikesville, Maryland, northwest of Baltimore
Average apartment size: 1,185 square feet
Baltimore average apartment size: 825 square feet
5. Longwood, Florida, north of Orlando
Average apartment size: 1,178 square feet
Orlando average apartment size: 958 square feet
6. Avenel, New Jersey, southwest of New York City
Average apartment size: 1,176 square feet
New York City average apartment size: 748 square feet
7. Park Forest, Illinois, south of Chicago
Average apartment size: 1,168 square feet
Chicago average apartment size: 742 square feet
8. Bear, Delaware, southwest of Philadelphia
Average apartment size: 1,141 square feet
Philadelphia average apartment size: 808 square feet
9. Rancho Palos Verdes, California, south of Los Angeles
Average apartment size: 1,133 square feet
Los Angeles average apartment size: 791 square feet
10. Woodbury, Minnesota, east of Minneapolis
Average apartment size: 1,123 square feet
Minneapolis average apartment size: 786 square feet
Rounding out the rest of the top 20 were Edwardsville, Illinois, northeast of St. Louis, at 1,119 square feet; Oxford, Ohio, outside of Cincinnati, at 1,112 square feet; Wildomar, California, south of Riverside metro, at 1,103 square feet; Southfield, Michigan, northwest of Detroit, at 1,103 square feet; Issaquah, Washington, east of Seattle, at 1,088 square feet; Trinity, Florida, northwest of Tampa, at 1,073 square feet; Camp Springs, Maryland, southeast of Washington D.C., at 1,055 square feet; Prosper, Texas, north of Dallas, at 1,051 square feet; West Linn, Oregon, south of Portland, at 1,050 square feet; and Greenwood Village, Colorado, south of Denver, at 1,029 square feet.