The 275-square-foot “micro-units” plan recently proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg has gotten people talking and claustrophobes tingling, but the size of new rentals in the city has already been shrinking for the last few years, The New York Times reports.

Studios in new rental buildings tend to measure close to 400 square feet, the current minimum unit size for new apartments under city zoning regulations, Prudential Douglas Elliman executive vice president Yuval Greenblatt told The Times. “Ten years ago, they would build closer to 500 square feet wherever that could be achieved.”

The 400-square-feet minimum, which will be waived for the micro-unit test project in Kips Bay, has limited new housing possibilities. There are 1.8 million small households and only 1 million studios and one-bedroom apartments in New York, according to city officials.

Apartment rentals have gotten smaller to keep monthly rents affordable amid high demand, particularly from young, single recent graduates eager to have their own space. “If the studio is well-designed and in a desirable neighborhood, a lot of times, people will sacrifice size,” Citi Habitats broker Evan Rosenfeld told The Times.

Condo sizes, meanwhile, have gone in the opposite direction, with developers building larger units to attract more buyers at a higher price. So if you’re a sheik with, say, $100 million to burn on a penthouse, you won’t have to convert your bed into a couch when guests come over.

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