Gen Zer and Millennials pay less than $700/month to live in tiny apartments


When Aliana Randazzo, 25, and JR Wills, 27, were planning their move to New York, they both fell in love with the micro studios in midtown Manhattan.

Randazzo found his rent-stabilized 80 x 150 square foot micro studio on StreetEasy and moved into the space in August 2021. Rent was $650 per month.

Randazzo’s initial moving costs were $1,950 and included broker fees, security deposit and first month’s rent.

Before moving to micro-apartment, the fashion campaign planner and content creator lived in a luxury high-rise building and paid $2,000 a month in rent. She soon realized that it wasn’t worth it because she was never home.

“I wanted to pay less for rent so I could travel more and live more,” Randazzo told CNBC Make It.

Randazzo found his 80 square foot apartment on Streeteasy and paid $650/month in rent.

Mickey Todiwala. Photo by CNBC

“Living in this place has been quite an adventure. It’s good because I was in Manhattan so I didn’t miss anything,” she added.

But even though she enjoyed living in her small downtown apartment, Randazzo found herself in a creative rut because she didn’t have enough space to create content.

Randazzo recently moved from his micro-apartment to a room inside an East Village townhouse.

Mickey Todiwala. Photo by CNBC

She has since moved into a $6,750-a-month townhouse in the East Village with four other roommates.

Although she now pays $1,350 a month to live in one room, Randazzo says she needed the extra space to continue growing her business.

“That big bed is definitely my favorite part of the room and I have a window this time, which I’m really happy about,” she says. “I don’t even know what to do with all this space.”

Randazzo is now paying $1,350 to live in an East Village townhouse with four other roommates.

Mickey Todiwala. Photo by CNBC

Much like Randazzo, Wills found his micro apartment on StreetEasy.

The 27-year-old Starbucks Reserve Roastery barista trainer moved into his 85-square-foot space in February 2022 and pays $687 a month for what he tells CNBC Make It is his “rent-stabilized shoebox.” .

Wills’ initial costs for his move were $2,874: $1,500 brokerage fees, $687 for first month’s rent and $687 for last month’s rent.

“I wasn’t really looking for a particular micro studio, but I saw the space. I liked it, so I just kind of went for it,” Wills says. “I walked into the space for the first time. I saw the window. There was so much natural light everywhere. I knew it was for me.”

Wills also found her rent-stabilized apartment on StreetEasy and pays $687 a month.

Mickey Todiwala. Photo by CNBC

Aside from all the natural light in his apartment, Wills says he likes the location because it’s convenient for getting around the city.

“I love how accessible my neighborhood is. I can get anywhere super fast, super fast,” he added.

While some might say they couldn’t imagine living in such a small space, Wills recommends it to everyone because it makes him appreciate the things he has so much more.

“I have a lot more money to spend on going out on the town, going out and eating with friends if I feel like it. It’s $687 versus $2,000. So that opens up the city for me, I think” , Wills added.

Wills tells CNBC Make It that he doesn’t see himself leaving the micro apartment anytime soon.

Mickey Todiwala. Photo by CNBC

Those same friends always ask Wills how long he’ll be living in the apartment, and right now he says he doesn’t see himself leaving anytime soon.

“I tell them as long as I want. I’m really comfortable here. I’m saving so much money. It’s rent stabilized, so why should I move? I’m probably in the best place in the world. world,” Will says.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at start to change, so I choose to live in positivity. I’m having a crazy time.”

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