Hailed by developers as a solution to the UK housing crisis and slammed by the media as ‘rabbit hutch living’, micro apartments have been a controversial new addition to the UK property market. Studio living in compact spaces has been increasingly prevalent in the UK and around the world, be it micro apartments in London to tiny houses in Texas. Space is at a premium in city centres and many people would rather sacrifice space rather than location. Clever design, a reduced amount of clutter and modern facilities are making these small spaces attractive to many young renters and buyers.
These apartments that are as small as 31 square metres are complete with a bathroom, living space, bed and kitchen. Some even feature a dishwasher, granite worktops and communal spaces like a residential lounge. Features such as drop-down tables, hidden cupboards and elevated beds are all strategies used to maximise space.
The demand for these small and micro apartments is increasing in the UK as renters look to cut down their accommodation costs to save for a house deposit. With property prices in UK cities sky rocketing, a small apartment can be the only viable option for those looking to invest or live there. Studio apartments allow tenants to have their own space without the hassle of a house share, and they can often be in sought after central locations. They are also providing people with an opportunity to purchase property and get on the housing ladder as they are affordable compared to standard properties.
Living solo is another reason that small apartments are appealing to young professionals. With long working hours, a busy social life and a decision to put off cohabiting until they are older, these people aren’t in their homes very often at all. Furthermore, studio living isn’t as foreign a concept as it used to be. Many purpose built student accommodation options are studio flats and small city centre apartments, which are chosen by renters frequently. With digital solutions making many problems like huge CD and video collections a non-issue for young people, smaller spaces can make more sense.
The UK isn’t the first country to start choosing small properties to get better locations. In the USA, the tiny house movement has taken many states by storm, with simple, uncluttered living appealing to many. In Asian cities like Hong Kong, Mumbai and Beijing, a large proportion of the population live in small densely packed living spaces.
Compact living is a positive choice for some people, with a streamlined approach to living space, sustainability and efficiency. Dr Mike Page, an engineer and psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire said to the BBC: “Compact living will not appeal to everyone, but for me there is a beauty to be had in an efficient use of energy and space, a pleasure in being able to live comfortably in a sufficient space, constructed almost entirely from sustainably sourced materials.”
For investors, small studio apartments offer them the opportunity to purchase property in premium locations without the premium price tag. The tenant demand for these properties is high and rental yields are often higher than comparable larger properties. Studio apartments like those offered by RW Invest are providing investors with yields of up to 8% and enviable locations in some of the UKs fastest growing areas.