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Micro Units or Prison Cells?

Both rising rents and the uptick in micro-unit construction are trending in Seattle’s multifamily market. A developer in the market tore down a single-family home on a 3,110 square-foot lot, and submitted plans to create a 5,640 square-foot building with 23 units.

The studio’s ad read that for $750 a month, renters can pay for a 130-square-foot studio, which some have likened to a “jail cell” because there are no borders between the sink, shower and toilet. The building features a congregate kitchen. Since there is no place to prepare food within the unit, the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections say the city’s codes were met.

According to Zillow, rents have risen by 41% across the city since 2013. Dupre + Scott broke down the unit’s value per square foot, finding that the average studio in the University District is $2.60 psf ($1,125), but this tiny studio works out to $5.77 psf.

For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Daniella Soloway


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