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Billy Wood

You're now more likely than ever to be living in a 'micro apartment' if you live in Central London

The continued pressures on London’s housing market over the past couple of decades may have pushed prices into the stratosphere for homeowners, but it has also had the inverse effect on property sizes according to new figures.

The rise of the so-called ‘micro apartment’, small studios and one bedroom flats, has massively taken off in the last few years as young professionals and students look for centrally located housing at affordable prices.

New statistics analysed by London Central Portfolio (LCP) have shown that lets of this nature are becoming increasingly common with 42% of properties let in the last 12 months in London’s prime postcodes having been studios or one bedroom apartments.

In a clear sign that tenants are prioritising lifestyle and transport links or property size, more and more people seem willing to trade off square footage for the convenience of city centre living.

Naomi Heaton, CEO of LCP, commented: “From a rental market perspective, a dynamic which was notable during the Credit Crunch is again apparent as corporates cut their housing budgets. Tenants are now looking for more affordable options, choosing central locations and an easy commute to work or university.

“This is reinforcing the new trend for the globally mobile to seek highly specified micro-apartments, with well optimised space, whilst families tend to opt for more suburban locations where smaller budgets can stretch to larger homes and ideally the possibility of outside space.”

Such is the demand for these lilliputian abodes in prime central London that the price pressures and discounting being seen elsewhere in London’s poshest postcodes does not seem to be impacting the micro apartment end of the market nearly as much.

According to LCP’s findings, studio and one bedroom units have recorded discounts to asking rents of 5.2% and 6.2% respectively, compared to 7.8% for two bedrooms, 9.9% for three, and a chunky 11.2% for homes with more than three bedrooms.

Heaton believes the rising popularity of these smaller units should give the Government pause for thought and has argued that current minimum space standards should be reconsidered to cater to market demand.

The calls may not be welcomed by everyone, however, with plans to create hundreds of studio apartments smaller than a Travelodge room in Barnet dubbed ‘dog kennels’ and branded as ‘immoral’ by local residents.

Heaton said: “It is very clear that tenants are now looking for smaller units, which offer more affordable prices, but want top quality properties with transport links and amenities on their doorstep.

“As the popularity of micro-apartments increases, it may perhaps be time for the Government to review their minimum space standards, introduced in 2014 and cater for what the market really demands.”

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