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Census data released last month reveals that in 2017, for the first time ever, one-room units accounted for more than 10% of Seattle’s total housing stock. The number not only includes tiny apartments but also single-family homes, town houses, and condos. The current count indicates 37,000, one-roomers which is nearly an 80 increase since the start of the decade. The homes are known as SEDUs or "small efficiency dwelling units." Since 2010, 88 multifamily buildings with an average unit size of less than 400 square feet have been built, or are under construction.

Seattle and San Francisco are the only two U.S. cities, among the 50 largest, where more than 10 percent of units are a single room. It happened in San Francisco first, and one-room homes now make up nearly 14 percent of the total in the City by the Bay.

They are much rarer in a lot of other cities, particularly places where most people live in houses and rents aren’t anywhere near as high as Seattle. At the other end of the spectrum from San Francisco and us is Virginia Beach, Virginia — only about one in 100 housing units are one room.

The distribution of Seattle homes by the number of rooms is quite evenly spread out, but four rooms is the most common — there are more than 60,000 homes with four rooms. That could be, for example, a home with two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen (bathrooms don’t count as rooms in census surveys, nor do foyers, hallways, alcoves, porches, unfinished basements and attics, and so on). Three-room units are a close second, at about 58,000.

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