The construction of tiny homes is soaring in the UK, but could you live in one?
British families already infamously live in some of the most cramped conditions in Europe, with an average floor space of 76 sq m in new-build properties. In comparison, Denmark has almost double this figure, with an average property size of 137 sq m. Sigh.
And the walls are set to come in on us even more. Take a 76 sq m apartment, divide it in two, and you have yourself a ‘micro-home’.
Micro-homes are properties smaller than 37 sq m, and the number of them in the UK is soaring. Last year construction of these homes rose by 40 per cent in the UK, according to consumer group Which?, meaning that more and more of us are living in homes that are smaller than half the size of the average British abode.
Almost 8,000 micro-homes were built in 2016, compared to the 5,605 that were built in 2015.
When you picture a micro-home, dreadful images of nightmare flats with toilets in the kitchen and showers in the living room may spring to mind. However, new micro-homes tend to be cleverly designed to optimise space.
With modern facilities and intelligent space-saving solutions, the micro-homes of today are a far cry from those horrific inner-city studios.
37 sq m is the minimum size for a studio flat under government standards, however these standards aren’t legally binding. Where there are house shortages, developers can apply to local authorities for permission to build smaller homes.
Need help with your studio? Check out our Studio flat ideas for smart and organised living
An example of this is an apartment found in Brent measuring just 8 sq m – only 1 sq m bigger than a prison cell…
Last year, micro-homes in London sold for an average of £279,000 – less than half the average price of a London home at that time. But Which? has found examples of micro-homes smaller than 28 sq m – that’s the size of an average Travelodge hotel room – on sale in London for as much as £450,000.
London is, naturally, a hotspot for micro-homes, however hundreds have also been built in cities such as Liverpool, Leicester and Birmingham over the past three years.
The benefits of these small properties? They provide extra homes during the housing shortage and a solution to difficulties facing first-time buyers.
The downsides? It can be hard to get a mortgage on a micro-home, and they don’t necessarily grow in value.