Small houses are rare in the current UK property market because they tend to make little sense commercially. Developers can’t build them in the densities that would make them viable when compared to other residential development types. Flats are more profitable on city centre sites, and where houses are appropriate – on suburban residential sites – slightly larger two-bedroom houses will be developed, as larger profit margins can be achieved.
Over the last few years this had led to a familiar choice for people starting out on the property ladder. The lower end of the property ladder offers either a one-bedroom flat in a high density development, a smallish two bedroom house in the suburbs, a one bedroom flat in a converted house, or a one bedroom house squeezed into an awkward corner on a larger housing estate.
If a house on the city fringes – even with only one bedroom – were available at a comparable price to these other options, we think it would be very attractive. We think a significant proportion of the people looking to buy something in that market would be interested.
Our Starter House proposal designs a house type to fill this gap in the property market. It is a low cost, one-bedroom house that can be built in high densities on lower value in-fill sites around city and town centres, making it a viable option for development.