Are Small Buildings More Family Friendly?
With larger units and more suburban locations, a larger share of small buildings serve renters with children.
As we described in our recent blog post on the age of renters in smaller apartment buildings, younger households are well represented in this segment of the multifamily market. That finding qualifies the prevailing wisdom that Millennials have crowded into high-rise buildings in the urban core — avoiding the of smaller properties, which are more likely to be found in the suburbs and which offer fewer common amenities.
What’s the draw of smaller apartment buildings for the younger households that we typically think of as urban high-rise dwellers? It turns out that children seem to play an important role. As shown in below, the share of households with children (under 18 years of age) in smaller properties is 25 percent, nearly double the 13 percent for households in large properties.
Several factors come into play in explaining the numbers. Smaller buildings may provide better access to suburban public schools. The units themselves are larger, and the unit mix includes more two and three bedroom apartments.
The importance of children in leading young families to small properties is supported by the age distribution of the parents themselves. As shown below, households with children who live in small properties skew younger. In large buildings, which are more likely to be centrally located, parents (and their children) skew older.