With the arrival of Christmas, you are probably not thinking about your property, but when toys are all over the place you may be considering that your home is too small. However, in reality, new build properties today are typically 32% smaller than properties from the 1970’s.

In some interesting research done by LABC Warranty (who provide warranties for new build properties) have shown that properties built after 2010 have an average living room space of 184sqft (17.1sqm). Let’s go back in time to the 1970’s and the size of the average living room is 268sqft (24.9sqm) – that’s an amazing difference of 32%.

But it doesn’t stop there, bedrooms have shrunk too. Looking deeper, a current new build master bedroom is on average 144sqft (13.4sqm) but a typical 1970’s master bedroom is a more generous 158sqft (14.7sqm).

Despite the many people preferring the vogue of “Island Kitchens” the space given to food preparation peaked in the 1960’s and is now 13% smaller in today’s new build homes.

Today’s properties are of a similar size to those built in the 1940’s. The second world war had a profound impact on the British building industry. Much of the industry came to a standstill in the first half of the decade, while the second half struggled with shortages of workers and building materials. So why have British homes regressed to 1940’s sizes?

With the demand for land to build properties on increasing, the average greenfield development land prices rose by 2.1% in the second quarter of 2018, taking the annual growth to 4.6%, the strongest rise since the second quarter of 2014. This squeezing of pockets is forcing home builders to not just make smaller rooms, but also smaller properties so they can maximise the number of buildings on the available land. The average number of bedrooms per property in the 1980’s peaked at 3.6 however in today’s builds the average is just under 3 bedrooms.

floorplan of cardiff property

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Some Cambridge university researchers found out that UK properties have the smallest floor area in Europe with just 818sqft (76sqm), while Denmark tops the table with the most spacious homes at 1475sqft (137sqm).

property sizes by country

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Pre-fabricated and modular homes that are made cheaply and quickly can offer a solution to the housing crisis but if size matters then a property from the 1970’s is your best bet.

So, with the average property in the UK being smaller than its European counterpart and shrinking what has this done to property prices? Twenty years ago, the average price of a property in Cardiff was £61,616 and the average price per square foot £66, but today, the average value of a Cardiff home is £202,105 and £223 per square foot. This is an increase of 228% and 238% respectively.

Dan Hopkins

Working with property professionals for over 20 years providing advice and services to all property investors.


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