Everyone has heard about micro-studios, but few have seen them: in the third quarter of 2023, less than 2 percent. apartments on the sales market in 16 provincial cities and Gdynia had an area of less than 25 m2. Many more small premises are available for rent.
A few years ago, regulations came into force that stipulated that an apartment must have an area of at least 25 m22. However, the regulation did not result in the disappearance of smaller premises from the market: the so-called micro-apartments were built in all large Polish cities and were advertised primarily as the first apartment for students, an alternative to a dormitory or sharing an apartment with other students, or an apartment for a young person who spends most of his time away from home anyway.
Micro-studio apartments. Minister Buda signed the new regulations
It doesn’t matter that micro-studio apartments are presented as an example of pathological development, i.e. building in a way that is considered to violate the interests of customers. There is a demand, so companies bring such premises to the market, and instead of selling them, they usually offer to rent them (since the premises have an area of less than 25 m2 is not an apartment, it is treated as a service premises, so its purchase requires payment of 23%. VAT).
Micro-studio apartments will soon become a thing of the past – or at least that is what the Ministry of Development and Technology would like. A few days ago, Minister Waldemar Buda signed a regulation combating various bad practices in the construction industry. It provides, among other things, greater distances between buildings. The minister would also like to deal with micro-studio apartments.
– We are introducing a regulation that each service premises must also be 25 sq m – announced Waldemar Buda. – Combinations of going down with parameters will simply end – he announced.
The size limit for commercial premises will not apply to premises on the ground and first floors. Minimum space regulations will come into force in April 2024.
How many micro-studios are for sale?
Analysts from the Polish Economic Institute checked what numbers we were actually talking about, i.e. how many micro-studio apartments hit the market at all.
It turns out that although much attention is paid to the topic in the media, this phenomenon is marginal: data from Propertly.io (a website downloading offers from 18 advertising portals) indicate that in the third quarter of 2023, less than 2 percent apartments on the sales market in 16 provincial cities and Gdynia had an area of less than 25 m22. Moreover, over 85 percent of them were sold on the secondary market. This means that the offers may also include apartments built in the years 1959-1974 and 1989-2018, when there were no regulations regarding the minimum apartment size.
The situation is worse on the rental market – micro-studio apartments constitute as much as 6.5%. market. This is a more important segment than larger apartments, with an area of 90 m 2 or more (5%). Moreover, their market share is growing. In the first quarter of 2023 it was 5.2 percent, in the second quarter – 5.7 percent, and in the third quarter – 6.5 percent. On average, in the cities surveyed, there are approximately 500 offers per week for renting an apartment of less than 25 m2.
The most micro-studios for rent in Warsaw, Krakow and Łódź
The most offers are in Warsaw (120), followed by Kraków and Łódź (approx. 75 each). In percentage terms, the largest share of micro-studio apartments falls in Łódź – this percentage is as much as 13.8 percent, but it is also high in Katowice (8.6 percent) and Poznań (7.4 percent). Apart from investors buying apartments for rent, there are many pre-war tenement houses in Łódź, where the area of studio apartments may be less than 25 m2. There are definitely the fewest micro-studios in Gdynia, where there are fewer pre-war tenement houses than in provincial cities – Gdynia obtained city rights in 1926 and only then did its dynamic development begin.