Multifamily developers have rethought a number of elements for their projects in recent years, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the interests that arose from residents spending more time at home. A new trend — the microunit community — is now emerging to meet the needs of the newest renter demographic, Gen Z.
So what exactly is a microunit community?
"A microunit community is a rental community where the one-bedroom units range from 350 square feet to 500 square feet," explained Sanford Steinberg, AIA, CGP, of Steinberg Dickey Collaborative LLP during the most recent Design Bites segment. Many in major metro areas would call this a studio, but these products are now becoming popular in markets where it hasn’t been a standard because of rising costs and rents.
"This is now creating an opportunity for the young consumer to get into the rental market," he added.
These young Gen Z renters are looking for walkable communities that are close to work (if they're not remote), necessities, gathering places and other activities, and that supply them with the basic space that they can personalize at an approachable price point.
"They want to live in a hot submarket at half the price," Steinberg stated.
To showcase these factors, Steinberg walked Design Bites subscribers through the creation of a popular development by Steinberg Dickey Collaborative LLP in Houston. The development features 168 microunits, and includes amenities such as a rooftop pool, dog park and fitness center, second-floor martini deck and ground-level retail to create an instant community packed with options for emerging Gen Z renters.
"It's all playing with this fun and this vibe, and creating an environment," he explained.
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