KOCHI: The demand for apartments has registered a growth over the years but their sizes have been shrinking. While the size of all budget apartments have seen significant drop, studio apartments witnessed the steepest decline. One BHK apartments are getting more cramped with their size reducing to an average of 300 sq ft. A decade ago, a one bed-room apartment in the city had an average size of 400 sq ft. Of late, many builders have started offering two bed-room flats squeezed into 850 sq ft.
Jagan Thomas, an engineer with the Kerala State Housing Board (KSHB), said 10 years ago a 3BHK budget apartment had an average area of 1,500 sq ft.“Over a period, their size came down to 1,350 sq ft.The size of 2BHK apartments have shrunk to an average of 850 sq ft. Earlier, the average size of a 2BHK apartment was 1,100 sq ft,“ he said. With land becoming more scarce and expensive in the city there are more takers for micro apartments. Buyers who want to stay within the city are left with no option but to settle for smaller apartments. Moreover, buyers find it difficult to sell expensive apartments and are exploring innovative ways to make housing projects appealing to buyers.
“One of the many reasons why builders choose to reduce the size of apartments is to make them affordable. Those who are looking forward to live within the city limits are willing to opt for newly built small-sized flats which are closer to their work place,“ said a Kochi-based former builder. As the NRIs were reluctant to invest in realty sector, the builders had to focus on the needs of those who wanted apartments not as investment but as living spaces. They concentrated on providing maximum facilities to buyers without burdening them and this resulted in smaller living spaces.
As the buying power of people have considerably decreased, the need for low-cost projects have gone up. “Apartment complexes are designed taking into account the requirement of the market,“ he said. Affordable homes falling in the range of Rs 40 lakh to Rs 60 lakh could be sold faster. The small apartments are easy to liquidate and their maintenance is not expensive.
More developers are adopting the strategy of constructing smaller apartments but at the same price per square foot and without compromising on the quality. The trend might not be easing property price inflation, but it is providing people belonging to middle income groups access to housing projects. “Micro apartments are affordable for the salaried class as they can easily avail bank loans to buy them,“ said Jagan Thomas.
As smaller apartments use less concrete and steel, the construction cost would also decrease.
“Land cost, labour cost and material cost have increased over the years.This shrinking size of apartments is a global trend,“ said S Shankar, an NRI based in Kuwait.
Credits ET Realty