Real estate developers are hoping to entice young professional renters into home ownership by wooing them with tiny, more affordable condos.
Downtown Washington, D.C. serves as one example of the tiny condo movement’s gain in momentum.
“They definitely notice it’s smaller, so it is an explanation; it takes a little bit of an adjustment,” says Chris Ballard, principal at McWilliams/Ballard, a marketing firm that works with the Peterson Cos., the developer of Ontario 17, a new condominium building in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood. The building’s tiny studios are just 380 square feet and cost $275,000 – which is about half the neighborhood’s median price. The building, which is not yet finished, is already about 70 percent sold.
“Things are getting smaller, and people are starting to understand,” says Laina Lee, one of the sales managers at Ontario 17. “About 80 percent of all our buyers, including our studios and our one-bedrooms, have all been first-time home buyers.”
Many young professionals are battling historically high rents that have made it difficult for them to save for a down payment to break into home ownership.
Ballard says it’s cheaper to buy at Ontario 17 than to rent in D.C.’s booming rental market.
“We’re definitely getting a consumer that’s priced out of the market,” Ballard says. “They look at older resales, and now they get to come and look at something that is brand new, and so that’s a great difference, when you’re comparing a 1970s build, older-type condominium with something that’s brand-new with all new fit and finish.”
At Ontario 17 in D.C., within 380 square feet, the studio units have a bed that pulls out of the wall, a dining table that pulls down from a hanging picture frame, a sofa that is built into the bottom of the bed, high-end kitchen appliances that are slightly smaller to fit the space, and in many cases a small terrace as well.
Source: “Wooing Millennials to Buy Condos: Really Tiny Condos,” CNBC (Sept. 29, 2015)