A housing academic claims that while popular belief has it that homes are getting smaller, the typical living space in England and Wales increased in size by 2.4 per cent from 88 to 90 square metres between 2004 and 2016.
Chris Foye of the University of Glasgow, who has conducted research for the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence, ays the issue over living space is not one of absolute size but of unequal distribution.
He claims that owner-occupiers often have a lot of space compared to tenants who may be sharing a home with several others.
Writing on BBC News Online, Foye says that in 2017 about 28 per cent of UK households contained only one person, up from 17 per cent in 1991. However - citing evidence from the Research Foundation think tank - he says the proportion of families and individuals sharing private rented housing almost tripled since 1992 to around 6.6 per cent now.
Faye believes the common complaint amongst many that their homes are not large enough are at least in part psychological., and change over time.
“Even after people move to a bigger house, it may not take long for them to start to feel like they don't have enough. Surveying almost 1,000 people who chose to upsize their home, my research found that housing satisfaction initially increased after a move by 1.2 points on a seven-point scale. But within three years, this rise had diminished by about 30 per cent as people's space expectations increased” Foye writes.
He continues: “You might think that people with very big houses would be more satisfied with their property. But I found that any increase beyond four rooms per person resulted in no uplift in housing satisfaction at all.
“This category is likely to include some older people who would like a smaller space but are reluctant to leave the family home. But even for the average household, more space may not necessarily lead to more happiness.
“Our space expectations are conditioned not only by where we have lived before, but also by our neighbours. Because house size is a status symbol, we feel worse off when other people get larger houses.”