When looking for an apartment to rent, for some, location is everything. For those wanting to live in the centre of a big city, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle for an affordable rate, they may have to start downsizing, a lot. There is no such thing as a free lunch and for those apartments with the perfect location, well within budget, they will be much smaller than you could have imagined.
New York is famous for its high rent, especially for those wanting to leave near Central Park. Felice Cohen, a professional organizer, has been living in one of the world’s smallest apartment for three years. The “micro studio” on New York’s Upper West Side, is only 8.3 square metres and does not even have a kitchen. The double bed is above the door, accessible via a ladder and entering the bathroom is a careful maneuver. Felice admits it did take some time getting used to the 90 square foot place but she does pay “only” $700 a month for the place compared to the $3000 a month asking price for her bigger neighbourhood apartments.
London’s sprawling city and the ever increasing number of people who move to the UK’s capital, means that land like New York is scarce. And where there is short supply, price increases especially when it comes to London apartments. A former broom cupboard of just 11ft by 5.5 ft is worth £200,000.want to live in the centre of the city. The location of this property makes it so valuable. It is just opposite Harrods in Knightsbridge, one of the most expensive areas to live in London.
- It was converted into a living space at the height of the eighties property boom (1987) and bought for £37,000 which was still a huge amount back then. This was not the first time a small London apartment has hit the headlines . In 2007, a 11ft by 7ft former janitor’s cupboard went on sale for £170,000 which is “cheap” for an area where the average asking price for a flat in Kensington and Chelsea was £1,145,791. The 77 square foot room is in such a terrible state than potential buyers were expected to pay an extra £30,000 to make it habitable.
Rome is home to one of the smallest apartment in the world after it went on sale in October 2010 A former porter’s closet, one of the most expensive Rome apartments per square metre has gone on the market for 50,000 euros. It is being described as a “compact bedsit”, at just 5 square metres and features a bathroom with shower, sink and lavatory. There is a ladder leading to a sleeping platform which is only big enough for a single bed.
- There is one window but you have to climb over the single bed to open it. And the reason it is so expensive? Well location, location, location. It is in Rome’s smartest districts, in the Piazza di Sant’Ignaio overlooked by a stunning Renaissance church. If that wasn’t enough to tempt you, the apartment is behind Palazzo Grazioli, rented by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, so you could have some famous neighbours. At 53.8 square feet this really should just be a closet, it is not big enough for an actual person to live in.
Paris does not have enough apartments to go round and therefore people are living in cramped conditions just so that they can live “dans le centre”. Many of the grand apartments you may see in central Paris such as along Boulevard Haussmann and off the Champs Elysees will have small “chambre de bonne” in the attic of the building. These were once the maids quarters and are now let out as studio apartments. These “studios” are accessible through a small staircase (no elevator), there is usually a shower and sink in the room, but some have the shared toilet in the corridor. People are renting properties such as this for 600 euros a month and there is no chance of getting the price down as there is sometimes a queue of people wanting to look at it.
It is hard to believe people want to live in such small spaces, simply to be near the city centre. With apartment prices rising, the only winners were those who had enough capital to buy before the boom. Now some seem to have done well for themselves but are exploiting their situation meaning those that want to climb the property ladder are facing a losing battle.