Small departments that conquer Latin America

July 8, 2019

Why are incredibly tiny apartments in Latin America (as small as a parking lot)

They are as tiny as the space occupied by a parking stall. "Are the smallest of Latin America", says Alexandre Frankel, executive director of Vitacon, the company that is building microapartamentos of 10 m2;in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Just the project VN Higienópolis went on the market, the units were sold at a value of approximately US$18,000. The building is still under construction and the delivery of the work is scheduled for the end of this year. As in the large Latin american cities traffic jams have become a nightmare and the prices of homes have gone to the cloud, developers are creating tiny apartments in central areas for young professionals, students and investors, who see in them an opportunity cost-effective.
In cities such as Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Bogota or Mexico City, people can easily spend three hours a day to travel from your home to work. And as the average wage does not allow to buy homes more big, those who live alone prefer to lose space and time.Although some architects say it is like caging people in the style of a cell in prison, others see it as a solution with high cost-efficiency for a problem of urban development that will only get worse. The defenders of the new trend, ensure that the phenomenon is the way in which it works with the "economy gig" or sharing economy, where young people work independently, have children later, and used spaces common labour (co-working). Then the architects are designing buildings with microapartamentos and large shared spaces, where people who want to socialize can spend a good part of your time. "People sleep in her apartment but the building is part of your house," he tells the BBC Alexandre Frankel. His company has built several projects with microapartamentos in Sao Paulo, but none had beaten the record of 10 m2.And in fact, in the future it will not be able to build small spaces so, because the regulation is no longer allowed. But yeah lets continue to build units of 11 m2."If I could make them smaller, the build," explains Frankel. And this is precisely a key point: in most of the large urban centres, the law does not permit to construct on a scale so small. Although in cities like Tokyo, where the population density is one of the highest in the world and the prices are prohibitive, there are microapartamentos of up to 8 m2.

"The cities are the people"

In other Latin american cities, have proliferated microapartamentos, but with sizes greater than line 20 m2.Though the overpopulation and excessive vehicular traffic are not new problems in the region, what is certain is that they have gotten worse in many cities.And if to the above we add the rise of the prices, the more the rise of a middle class aspirational, a cocktail perfect for the phenomenon of the microapartamentos begin to expand, at least as long as there is a demand that will put coal on the fire. In Buenos Aires are also developing real estate projects of this type. Some in exclusive neighborhoods, and other areas of the middle class."We made products for middle-class people can't buy, who do not have access to housing," he says in dialogue with BBC World Paul Brodsky, director of commercial Property, company that sells microapartamentos ranging from 18 m2 to 30 m2, with a value that part in the US$40,000 or$50,000."The cities are people. That's why the microapartamentos are a trend that's here to stay". Although Brodsky says that everything has a limit, that is to say, they can't build homes as small as those of Sao Paulo. "I would not live in a 10-m2", he says.

Rent for tourists

Other companies have developed projects in the most exclusive areas, such as Belgrano or Palermo, do not fall below 20 m2 and whose value begins at$55,000. Bought by investors that in some cases the rent on platforms such as Airbnb or even as office space. "By the devaluation of the peso, it is very cost effective to rent them to tourists who pay in dollars, rather than rent them for an entire year," Manuel says Mel, sales manager of Mel properties. Also bought by the parents of students who come from areas of the interior of the country or young professionals. "They have very good location, connected to the subway and you can buy them people who would otherwise have to wait five more years." And as the rules that allow you to build microapartamentos in Buenos Aires were modified over just a few months, it is possible that in the next few years to develop more projects of this type.

"People are still searching large spaces"

"This phenomenon is not yet tangible for the case of Mexico," he tells the BBC José Luis Madrigal, lead manager of the firm CADU Residential. "We have a rising prices for housing, especially in the City of Mexico, and a high demand that the offering may not assimilate". However, people are still searching large spaces, which have a minimum of 65 m2.De anyway, he argues, the trend suggests that the spaces are reduced, both by rising cost of prices, reduction in population growth, or by the conditions of life and work that goes into the sharing economy. In some web sites properties are offered apartments of 20 m2, mainly for hire. It is, in many cases, remodeling of old houses, has Leonardo Gonzalez, an analyst at the portal And there is a certain demand for small spaces in the sector millennial, given that it is not easy for them to buy an apartment. "Many do not have income security, or the conditions for acquiring a property," he explains. The same situation is repeated around the world, especially in large cities where to get the first housing has become a dream ever more distant. Not in vain, for many professionals, recent college graduates trying to stay in the home of his parents as much time as possible with the idea of saving. And others, tired of being hours and hours stuck in traffic, they end up preferring the microapartamentos. An idea that shocked many planners who take the head two hands and wonder why there was no planning policies to time. Be that as it may, the mega-cities will continue to grow and the demand for housing is hardly going to stop. Cecilia Swept – BBC News World