A YouGov poll by Inspired Homes revealed that 71% of British adults support the development of 31 square metre plus micro-apartments.
The YouGov poll surveyed adults of different ages, incomes, household types and working statuses across the nation to provide a fair representation of public opinion. The survey included a video and a series of still images to illustrate a micro-apartment and then asked respondents to indicate, if they had to choose, whether they would support or oppose micro-apartments of this size being built.
The poll found that those below age 35 and 55 plus were very supportive of micro-apartments with 74% supporting in both categories, but the most supportive age group was 18-24 year olds (84%). Those with children (73%) were more likely to support than those without children (69%), while those living with friends or housemates (80%) were the keenest supporters.
Income made a big difference to how people voted, with those earning below £40,000 pa far more likely to support (73%) than those earning £40,000 pa or more (65%).
31 square metre micro-apartments are around 40% smaller than the government’s nationally described space standard, which specifies that one-bedroom apartments should be no smaller than 50 square metres. Apartments of this size are typically 20% more affordable than standard sized new-build apartments, helping those priced out of the market to get a foot on the property ladder.
However, research from Which? has suggested that micro-homes don’t necessarily grow in value like their larger counterparts, while some mortgage lenders won’t lend on them at all.
As it stands, developers are refused planning for new-build micro-apartment developments because of the space standard and can only build them by converting existing buildings.
Since office-to-residential Permitted Development rights were introduced in 2013, thousands of micro-apartments have been delivered across the country, providing a more affordable route to homeownership. The government promised a review of space standards in its Housing White Paper published in February, but this review stalled after the housing minister lost his seat following May’s snap election.
Martin Skinner, Chief Executive Officer at Inspired Homes, said, “The poll shows that people are overwhelmingly in favour of allowing micro-apartments to be built. It is even more conclusive given that respondents were from all over the country and different walks of life. We knew micro-apartments were popular with first-time buyers, but the results indicate that they also appeal to downsizers.
“As a parent myself, we desperately want our children to be homeowners, so I’m not surprised that parents support the development of micro-apartments. Our buyers are typically young professionals living in house or flat shares before they purchase and the poll confirms that this group is clearly in favour of smaller, more affordable homes being built.
“There is a dwindling supply of office buildings to convert and a number of local authorities have exempted themselves from Permitted Development rights. We hope that the ‘micro’ question has now been answered and urge the Government to rethink its policy on space standards so more people have the opportunity to get onto the housing ladder.”
|Age % supporting micro|
|Children in household||74%|
|No children in household||71%|
|With friends or housemates||80%|
|With spouse or partner||71%|
|Parent or guardian|
|Children 18 and under||72%|
|Children over 18||74%|
|Below £40,000 pa||73%|
|Above £40,000 pa||65%|