Study: Apartment space shrinking in Bay Area, nation

Karl Nielsen

As the total apartment size has decreased throughout the past 10 years, so has the amount of living space per renter in the Bay Area and across the country, according to a new study from RentCafe.

During the last decade, the total apartment size has been slowly decreasing, from 943 square feet to 913 square feet, on average. At the same time, the number of renters per unit has remained relatively constant, averaging 1.69 persons per apartment. As a result, a renter’s personal space shrank by 25 square feet in that time frame, measuring 540 square feet today, which is about the size of a large master bedroom, according to the study.

In the Bay Area, Vallejo has the most space per renter at about 500 square feet. On the other end of the spectrum is Fremont, which offers a little over 300 square feet per renter. The national average is 540 square feet per renter.

Among other data from the Bay Area: 

  • Vallejo renters get about 487 square feet or 1.53 rooms per person. Santa Rosa is not far behind, with 466 square feet per renter, or 1.48 rooms per person – the equivalent of a bedroom plus a shared living room. 
  • Fremont renters the least amount of space in the Bay Area, at 320 square feet, which equals to 0.97 rooms per person. Similarly, renters in Hayward get 340 square feet. These two cities hold the third and eighth spots, respectively, among the cities with the least personal space per renter across the nation. 
  • Renters in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland have a range of options and better chances for more space. San Francisco offers 433 square feet, Oakland 439  square feet and San Jose 407 square feet. In all of these cities, renters get the equivalent between 1.20 rooms and 1.30 rooms to themselves.

The entire report can be found here.

Rent chart


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