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'Over 50% of new homes too small for families' - claim

More than half of the new homes being built today are not big enough to meet the needs of the people who buy them, according to research from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

RIBA says the squeeze on the size of our houses is depriving thousands of families of the space needed for them to live comfortably and cohesively, to eat and socialise together, to accommodate a growing family or ageing relatives, or even to store possessions including everyday necessities such as a vacuum cleaner.

The association claims that on average the buyers of a new three bedroom home are missing four square metres on the minimum space they require – that’s the size of a family bathroom.


The smallest three bedroom homes surveyed by RIBA were missing space equivalent to an entire double bedroom.

Homes in Yorkshire are by far the smallest in England - the average new three bedroom home in the county is on 84 square metres, a full 25 square metres smaller than one in London. 

Following on from its research RIBA is calling for a national space standard that applies to all homes, in every location.

“Tiny rabbit-hutch new-builds should be a thing of the past. But sadly our research shows that for many people, a new home means living somewhere that’s been built well below the minimum space standard needed for a comfortable home” says RIBA president, Jane Duncan.

“We urgently need new homes, but building small homes or cutting corners when converting office buildings to flats is short-sighted and fails the people these new homes are meant to serve. The government must take action to ensure a fairer minimum space standard is applied to all new homes across the country.”

  • Algarve  Investor

    Obviously people don't want to live in tiny rabbit-hutch homes, but as a nation we have always had smaller homes than our cousins on the Continent. Compare and contrast homes in Portugal and Britain and the difference is staggering.

    We've always made the most of the space we have, because we like to have a bit of garden and we like to live in the city, where more cramped housing is necessary. There is a difference between cramped/uncomfortably small and cosy. Part of the charm of homes in Yorkshire, parts of London and other places across the UK are their squeezed, higgledy piggledy, haphazard nature. We're famous for it.

    A space standard is no bad idea, but we have to remember that small homes is nothing new. It's been that way for centuries.

  • Anna  Dickson

    It's not just families that are feeling the squeeze either. A high percentage of those living in London are likely to be living in a property smaller than what is necessary. News stories seem to be popping up everywhere recently where properties of minuscule size are selling for hundreds of thousands, it's just a case of get what's affordable, regardless of whether the space fits your needs.

  • Emma  Mitchell

    Across a large percentage of the UK not enough houses are being built on a regular basis, so I think this should be the key before we become too stringent on space standards.


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