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Press Release: RCLCO Identifies Trending Characteristics of Larger-Rent-Earning “Macro” Apartments in New Issue of RCLCO’s ‘The Advisory’

February 2, 2017 Apartments Research & Reports

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 2, 2017 – After publishing a study on micro unit apartment trends in October 2016, a follow-up study conducted in January 2017 by RCLCO analyzed real estate trends of the opposite preference in terms of “”macro units,”” identifying the typical characteristics of macro unit communities where larger units achieve higher rents per square foot than smaller units.

While the real estate industry shifted toward developing smaller apartment units, some developers have moved the opposite direction and differentiated their communities by building large units, in terms of both bedrooms and square feet. Dubbed “”macro units”” by the RCLCO study, these apartments can achieve even higher per-square-foot rents than their “”micro”” competitors in some communities.

RCLCO used advanced analytics to define the largest units of each type built this cycle, and identified the typical characteristics of new buildings whose macro units defy conventional rent expectations. RCLCO analyzed the nearly 5,000 apartment communities delivered since 2011 with over 60,000 floorplans and more than one million units to statistically determine the units that are significantly larger than a typical unit and would be classified as macro units. Analyzing only communities that have made a decision to focus on the macro unit market, RCLCO filtered to evaluate buildings where at least 25% of units are considered statistical outliers.

The study features an interactive map where readers can click around to examine their own market and the cities with the most macro units.

Some key takeaways regarding macro units:

  • These communities have very few studios – on average less than 5% of the units. They are heavily weighted towards one- and two-bedroom units, with one-bedrooms comprising 44% and two-bedrooms comprising 40% of the unit mix. Three-bedroom units make up 11% of these communities.
  • Greystar is the most prolific manager of these communities, managing 20% of the profiled communities.
  • Not all units are created equal. While a community overall may have a positive relationship between unit size and achieved rent per-square-foot, these relationships are partially driven by unit type, with two- and three-bedroom units experiencing a positive relationship between unit size and rent per-square-foot, while one-bedrooms typically have a flat or negative relationship.
  • Among the 30 profiled communities, 37% are in the downtown core, 30% are in established high-end suburbs, and the remaining communities are in downtown-adjacent neighborhoods or near institutions such as a military base or university.
  • Nearly every community on the list includes 24-hour concierge service. Concierge services often include dog walking and other services not provided by typical concierges.

Read the full issue of The Advisory: Bigger Units, Bigger Payday: Exploring and Mapping the Growth of Macro Units online at


Since 1967, RCLCO (formerly Robert Charles Lesser & Co.) has been the “”first call”” for real estate developers, investors, public institutions and non-real estate companies seeking strategic and tactical advice regarding property investment, planning, and development. RCLCO leverages quantitative analytics platforms and a strategic planning framework to provide end-to-end business planning and implementation solutions at an entity, portfolio, or project level. With the insights and experience gained over 50 years and thousands of projects—touching over $5B of real estate activity each year—RCLCO brings success to all product types across the United States and around the world. RCLCO is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has offices in Los Angeles, Orlando, and Austin.

Media Contact:

Diana Black
Marketing Manager
P: 310-670-4288


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