Pandemic has broken a decade long compression trend in unit size

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic called for the implementation of strict stay-at-home policies to curb the virus outbreak and this restricted the daily activity of millions within the walls of their home.

There is a notion of an increase in preference for a larger space, an additional balcony or a home office/study which has emerged for a post-COVID-19 world. This got us curious to look back on the preferences of the home buyer in a city like Mumbai over the last decade. What was the product offering 10 years ago? Has there been a shift and what kind of a shift was it?

The average unit size of an apartment in Greater Mumbai

Our data shows a steady compression in the apartment size over the last 10 years. Adhering to the consumer demand for larger space, the unit sizes have increased in the new supply of 2021.

Table 1 shows the average usable carpet size (sqft) trend in Greater Mumbai

Year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Usable Carpet Size (in sqft) 989 970 955 887 864 820 804 790 775 761

Table 2 shows the average usable carpet size (sqft) in new supply in Greater Mumbai

Year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Usable Carpet Size (in sqft) 915 879 832 740 737 492 646 656 562 684

There has been a reduction of 228 sqft in the weighted average size of an apartment in Greater Mumbai in 2021 compared to 2012. Maximum changes were observed in 2015 and 2017 when the sizes reduced by 68 sqft and 44sqft respectively as compared to the preceding year. Understanding the changing consumer demand brought by the pandemic, the supply introduced in 2021 have slightly larger unit sizes. The weighted average size of apartments among the new launches is 684 sqft, 22% larger as compared to the average size in 2020, 4%, and 7% larger as compared to years 2019 and 2018.  

What are the typical flat sizes?

Table 3 shows typical flat sizes over the years in Greater Mumbai as Weighted Average Usable Carpet Size (sqft)

Flat Type2012
New Supply (2019)New Supply (2021)
1BHK441413389386 393 373
2BHK735691670663 639 647
3BHK1,0891,0681,0681,073 1,010 1,182
4BHK1,9331,8711,9101,943 2,313 2,383
Total989864790761 656 684

Table 4 shows the change in sizes of the apartments and the new supply over the years as
Weighted Average Usable Carpet Size (sqft)

Flat TypeChange in sizes (2016-2021)Change in size of new supply (2019- 2021)

While the total average flat size has faced a compression of 103 sqft in the last 5 years, a flat level split shows a compression in the size of 1BHK and 2BHK by 27 and 28 sqft respectively. A similar trend is observed in unit sizes of new supply.

Sizes have expanded for 3BHK and 4BHK by 5 sqft and 72 sqft respectively. The trend has accelerated among new supply during the pandemic with the requirement for additional space for WFH and E-schooling etc. In recent launches, the weighted average size of 3BHK has increased by 172 sqft and 70 sqft for 4BHK units.

The Liases Foras team further investigated to see, if there is a preference shift for product typology.

The annual sales have grown by 1.7X (decadal), however, the unit-wise contribution has witnessed a shift. 2BHK is the best-selling product in Greater Mumbai with an average market capture of 45%. A striking shift is in the demand of 3BHK which has reduced from 37% in 2012 to 20% in 2021. Correspondingly, the share of 1BHK demand has tripled in 10 years from 10% to 32%.

Post pandemic the shifting curves have softened. Over the last two years, the market share of 2BHK and 3BHK have remained the same. There is an increase in market share of 1BHK by 2% while a decline in market share of 4BHK and above.     

Note: The weighted average size has been calculated on total supply. The apartment size mentioned in the article is the usable carpet sizes in sqft.