According to KPMG and Shelter, first time buyers in London need a minimum salary of £77,000, but only earn £27,999 on average. Similar problems exist around the world.
Avoiding the Trap
Many people in their late thirties and early forties consider themselves trapped in a cycle of short-term lets or unconventional forms of home ownership, like houseboats on the capital’s canals.
To help reverse this trend London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, is backing ‘micro-apartments’ – scaled-down one-bedroom flats targeted at singles or couples who earn too much to qualify for social housing, but too little to buy on the open market. Pocket Living’s 24 storey 83 unit scheme, Wandsworth
Smaller & Smaller
Typically centrally located, close to transport links and built on brownfield or hard-to-develop sites unsuitable for traditional development, these follow the precedent set by micro-apartment projects in New York, Vancouver and Tokyo. London flats have been designed as small as 26 sq m, rather than the 37.5 sq m minimum required by the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) Supplementary Planning Guidance, thanks to special dispensations.
Developer Pocket Living has developed several micro-flat schemes backed by a £21.7m, 10-year interest-free loan from the GLA. It offers one-bedroom flats for sale at 20% below the market rate. Last month Pocket applied for planning consent for its largest scheme to date: a 24-storey, 83-unit micro-flat tower in Wandsworth, south London.
“People are crying out for this type of smaller-scale accommodation in London,” says Andy von Bradsky, chairman of Pocket’s architects, PRP, explaining that “Although local authorities are resistant to space standards falling below the [mayor’s London Housing] Design Guide minimum, there is a trend to discuss the possibility of having smaller, more compact typologies, particularly for younger people unable to get on the housing ladder who need a different type of living accommodation as a stepping stone to either rental or home purchase.”
Inside “Pocket’s” Wandsworth Flats
Small Units – Bigger Profits
Small flats enable the developer to create more units per scheme (one-bedroom flats by their nature are more profitable) and by building in modest numbers – up to 40 units – it can exploit tight infill sites previously considered unsuitable for development, or as part of larger-scale regeneration projects.
… and Even Smaller for rent
Canadian developer Realstar Living has adopted a similar strategy offering studio flats of between 17 sq m and 27 sq m sharing common areas and a full-time onsite manager in Stockwell to rent for £1,000 a month.
Tenants are professional, independent workers – not necessarily young –from policemen to nurses, to people in ad agencies,”
“Convertible” units, Washington
Ryan Prince, co-founder and chairman of parent company Realstar Group explains that “The demographic is really anyone working in London making £30,000-£35,000 a year. The model only works in places like London or New York, where you have such incredible density of growth and employment, and people want to live close to where they work.”
CM Global Compact living Guide
Construction Manager lists 7 schemes around the world that are currently in development. From a 9 storey, 25 – 35 m2 New York project that required a waiver on minimum space city zoning standards, an 11 storey panoramic scheme in San Francisco, 170 units within a 500 unit scheme in Washington, 16 – 26m2 pads in Vancouver, a 25 storey scheme in Toronto, 151 units in Ottawa, and a Hong Kong developers 142 micro unit project in Oldham.
Many of these use built in, mobile home style furnishings and incorporate communal facilities like lounges, roof gardens and open space.
The full article is available here
25 storey Smart House, Toronto
Making the Most of YOUR sites
Brownfield, Flood Plain, Extra Tight, “Airspace” Penthouses – wherever you have land and the will to develop it, we probably already have relevant experience of similar issues to the one’s you face.
Timber Frame and SIP Frame structures are easily designed to address all of these and deliver Low Energy superstructures. Whether you are an architect, developer or self-builder, to make the most of your project – from planning and design to erection and ‘turn-key’ delivery – call us for a no obligation discussion.