As property prices in the south east of England are still incredibly high, buyers are having to use all their savings to buy homes that are often only the size of a garage. There have been some incredibly small properties sold in London for extortionately high prices, even though the homeowner may struggle to turn on the spot with their arms open.
A new trend has been seen over the last few months, in which those who can only afford a smaller property decide to ‘go skinny’. There was a story in the news recently, where a seven-foot wide house was sold for £235,00.
The property was of course situated in London and what would have seemed like a crazy purchase to anyone living outside the capital, was most likely a good deal for a Londoner on a tight budget. This may seem like a ridiculously priced house, but in comparison, an eight foot house in east London was sold for £450,000 a year ago.
Interestingly though, it’s not just London that has skinny houses taking the property market by storm in the UK. What was once known as Britain’s most narrow house is in Portsmouth and is only 4ft 10 inches wide at the front. It is now the UK’s second narrowest house, only beaten by a house in Scotland, which is one inch thinner.
Known as “The Wedge”, the 47 inch wide house in Millport holds the record for being the skinniest house in the world and has just on the market for £85,000. The house has become so famous that the owners are now receiving offers from interested buyers in excess of £125,000.
Stuart Beckett said: “originally we called it the Tardis – the outside looked so small but on the inside it’s massive”.
These skinny homes, also known as “pop-up houses”, are becoming a common site in dense residential areas like London, as builders battle to find space to build new property on streets where there is simply not much room.
British architect, Jack Woolley, explained:
"There is so much pressure on land that there is more incentive to make interesting use of less conventional sites – many of which will be long and thin. The narrowness is often what makes these sites so special”
Homes that are up to 50 feet tall and as narrow as ten feet wide originated in the 1700s in Columbia, when warring neighbours would build them to obstruct someone else’s view or block the light from reaching another house.
These days though they are praised as a way to allow buyers to live in some of the hottest neighbourhoods, where there is very little land available. New builds are now half the size that they were in the 1920s.
The Institute of Economic Affairs found that the UK has the smallest homes in Europe, averaging at just 66 square meters, compared to 110 square meters in Italy, and 115 square meters in Denmark. It will be interesting to see whether this skinny trend continues in the UK or if developers and builders will find new ways to create affordable homes in big cities.