What 500 square feet costs you in 5 cities

Welcome to a variation on Curbed Comparisons, wherein Curbed sees how much cash it takes to get a certain amount of space in the ever-growing list of cities that comprises the Curbed universe.

A comfortable size for a studio, 500 square feet is a good starting place for first time buyers or, in sunnier climes, for vacationers on a budget. This stylish studio in Miami Beach looks to be appealing to the latter, lying just two short blocks from the beach in a historic Art Deco building. Currently listed for $249K, the 502-square-foot pad has a renovated kitchen and decorative marble mantlepiece, while the building keeps a swimming pool and manicured garden for communal use. Maintenance for those amenities, the sparkling lobby, and Deco facade doesn't come cheap, however, as maintenance runs $390 per month, a not insignificant sum for such a small and affordable vacation home.

↑ In pricey NYC, 500 square feet can seem like a reasonable amount of space for full-time living, and some apartments that size even manage to sneak a single bedroom. This one bedroom, on Essex Street in the Lower East Side, measures 490 square feet, but has a surprisingly gracious layout, save for the bathroom tucked away next to the kitchen. There's plenty of light from the wide windows and an updated kitchen with dishwasher, but the building lacks an elevator and this unit is on the fifth floor. In light of that shortcoming the price is surprisingly high, at $569K. We might say the democratic campaign signage is limiting the potential buyer pool, but there probably aren't many Republicans looking for a fifth-floor walk-up on the Lower East Side.

↑ A charming Art Deco building in Cambridge, Mass.—just across the Charles River from Boston and famously home to top universities like Harvard and M.I.T.—is home to this modest studio. The entrance is a bit unorthodox, but the large, numerous windows make up for that oddity. The $248K price is made all the more reasonable by an easy walk to Harvard Yard, but the fixtures and bare bones kitchen hardly impress.

↑ This loft-like Los Angeles home is certainly deficient in curb appeal, but the interiors are spacious and open plan, considering it's only 468 square feet. There's space for an alcove bedroom, a U-shaped kitchen, and not much else inside, but outside there's a large porch and even more spacious patio, all on a diminutive 0.07-acre lot. The list price is currently $415K. Not bad when the location—just off the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood—is taken into account.

↑ North Lakeshore Drive holds some of Chicago's most desirable and expensive real estate, but just a block inland, small apartments can be had for impossibly small sums. Thanks to a short sale situation, this 500-square-foot one bedroom is listed for just $80K. Located in a beautiful 1925 building with gated courtyard entrance, it's no wonder that this apartment—with its wood burning fireplace and in spite of its dated kitchen—is already in contract.


· 2421 Lake Pancoast Dr [Majestic via Zillow]
· 133 Essex Street [Streeteasy]
· 36 Highland Ave [Zillow]
· 8629 Franklin Avenue [Zillow]
· 636 W Waveland Ave [Zillow]

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