The couple Luan and Gil no longer wanted to waste hours on the way to work. When looking for an alternative, he decided to compact his life, from a house to 24 m². And along with a cat and a puppy. The initial idea was not that, but it was what fit in the budget.
Such experiences are increasingly common in São Paulo, which is experiencing an internal migration movement: from larger residences to small apartments.
One or more dormitories, for low or high income, the dwellings are in an increasingly smaller dimension. In the city, 76% of launches are up to 45 m², while ample options tend to be a luxury in urban centers.
The reasons are several: housing market, cost, behavioral changes and smaller families.
Not even the pandemic and the willingness of part of the population to live in wider areas have shaken the trend. The average size of units of up to one bedroom in the city dropped 40% in a decade: from 46.1 m² to 27.5 m² in 2021, according to data from the Brazilian Heritage Studies Company (Embraesp).
The two-bedroom apartments lost more than 13 m², from 57.5 m² to 42.3 m².
There is a tendency to reduce the number of rooms, increasingly integrated, in which the same space is a living room, kitchen, service area and whatever else you need. On the other hand, others are almost extinct, such as laundry, office, segmented kitchen and even hallways, while balconies are almost ubiquitous.
Windows, ceiling height and other aspects that impact lighting, ventilation and thermal and environmental comfort were also reduced or impacted.
New residents measure it inch by inch and sometimes resort to exchanging tips on the Internet and hiring renovation specialists. Some say they are satisfied and don’t want to move to a bigger space anytime soon; others see limitations.
For makeup artist Luan Siqueira Freitas, 27, and attendant Gil Lima da Silva, 28, moving to a micro-apartment required everyone to adapt. “Our (previous) room was the size of the (new) apartment”, compares Freitas.
The couple researched references on social networks, visited decorated and designed their own project. All the furniture in the house they used to live in was either donated or sold, because of the size.
“To find myself in such a small place, I bumped into me all the time”, he says. The dog Athena was the one who had the most difficulties, but she was given walks in the condominium to compensate for the lack of a yard. Now the couple says that “when you think about it, everything fits”.
The secretary Janaína Wagner, 29, shares the 34 m² apartment with two bedrooms with her husband and 3-year-old son. Some time ago, she had acquired a 56 m² one, but the uncertainty of the pandemic made her switch. “Our apartment is small and has everything we need”, she says.
“It has a comfortable sofa, kitchen, normal double bed. What else?” Like Luan and Gil, she shares the experience of living in a small apartment on Instagram. Profiles in which residents narrate doubts and challenges in these houses have become popular. “I set it up to keep my inspirations and ask other people’s questions.”
At the same time, smaller apartments lead to new habits. An article by FGV researchers, from 2016, identified a reduction in consumption, due to not having a place to store it, restrictions on visits and more frequent outdoor activities.
The new family settings influence. According to the IBGE, the total number of people living alone rose 43% in 10 years. This group includes singles, divorcees, elderly widowers and those who do not live with their spouse. There are also cohabitation profiles that are gaining strength, such as residences with friends and acquaintances (in addition to university students) and couples with one or no children.
It is the profile of clients who seek the architect Glaucio Gonçalves, specialized in compact apartments. According to him, out of 180 jobs in the last two years, almost all were for young people and couples with their first property, moving out of their parents’ house or renting. “’I bought a studio and I don’t know where to start’. It’s the question I get at least 10 times a day.”
Among the most common exits, removing the balcony door, installing a sliding door and multifunctional and planned furniture.
“People spent a lot of time at home (in the pandemic) and saw how outdated spaces are”, says Simone Villa, professor of Architecture and Urbanism at the Federal University of Uberlândia (UFU).
“The lack of space and privacy impacts relationships.”
Professor at Mackenzie, Antonio Claudio Fonseca associates the trend with the loss of purchasing power. Although the square meter of the compact is more expensive, the final price is more affordable, especially through financing. “Decades ago, one-bedroom apartments were the exception,” he says.
In addition to the migration of part of the spaces (such as the laundry) to common areas of the condominiums, the distribution of the internal space changes. In the compact, the dining table becomes a counter, which takes up the space of a wall. The service area is an extension of the kitchen sink. In parallel, the balconies gain ground.
“Before, three or four bedrooms started from 180 m² to 200 m² and upwards. Today we have three good bedrooms over 80 m²”, says Eduardo Pompeo, Development Director at Setin Incorporadora. For him, on-demand services, accommodation, transport and delivery influence, due to the short-term rental and to dispense with a larger kitchen and garage structure.
The information is from the newspaper. The State of São Paulo.
Source: CNN Brasil
I am Joe Jameson, author of World Stock Market. I have a fascination with the stock market and how it affects our world. I enjoy writing about my findings and hope to help others understand this complex system.