Rabbit hutch homes set to continue

August 21, 2013

So yesterday’s post was a case of ‘too enthusiastic too soon’: the government’s┬áconsultation on living space did not, as it happens, go so far as to back standards on room sizes in new build houses in order to reverse the trend towards increasingly hutch-like homes. In covering the news, the Guardian quotes a housebuilder:

Jeff Fairburn, chief executive of Persimmon, which accounts for about 10% of the new homes market, claimed the reduction in house sizes reflected modern preferences and lifestyles. “We have house types to maximise efficiency. [Today] you have living and cooking spaces at the back of houses and less formal dining space. I don’t recognise claims that houses are too small. That is not the feedback we are getting.”

By ‘feedback we’re getting’, you suspect Mr Fairburn means ‘the feedback we choose to listen to’.

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We live in the smallest homes in western Europe

August 20, 2013

The FT today covers the news that communities minister Don Foster is launching a ‘space consultation’, which is not quite as exciting as if the policy being consulted on were about whether we should live on Mars, but likely to be more important. As anyone who’s owned, lived in or visited a home on a newly-built estate will recognise all too vividly, modern dwellings have shrunk compared to their forebears. But I was surprised to read by just how much:

Typical new homes in Britain have nearly halved in size over the last 80 years, making them the smallest in western Europe, as builders try to eke greater profits from their plots of land. The average one-bedroom new-build home now offers space equivalent to a Tube carriage. Developers have been forced to deny the use of cut-size furniture and wall mirrors in their show homes to create the illusion of roominess.


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