New homes developers are against new campaign for bigger room sizes

18:59 14 November 2014

Matthew Green Greens Developments

Matthew Green Greens Developments

Archant

New homes must have larger size bedrooms - but this will price people out of the market say specialists

A government campaign to introduce minimum space standards for new build houses and apartments met with concern locally that it will price buyers out of the market.

The government campaign aims to introduce minimum space standards for new build houses and apartments in a bid to stop the creating of more “shoe box homes.” But local new homes specialists are sceptical.

Richard Aldous, head of new homes for Savills’ eastern region, said that room sizes are worked out on how much it costs per square foot - so increase the measurements, and the price will go up too.

“In Norwich we are working on about £240 a foot so a standard two bedroom new home will be 660 sqft - so if the government stops the building of anything below say 760 sqft, it will basically put £20,000 on the price .

“So with building bigger units, you will price people out of the market, particularly first time buyers.”

Matthew Green, who builds new homes as well as converting period properties, agreed that forcing room sizes up would be detrimental to the property market.

“We are still building large new houses but we also build small houses and people buy what they can afford. We also build what people want to buy.”

Mr Green, of Greens Developments is currently converting a large period townhouse in Swaffham, Westgate House, London Street, which he is dividing into 10 individual dwellings.

One of these is a studio flat which is only 5ms x 5ms but he is planning to sell it for £55,000. “There is a real demand for something at this price however most of my properties are much bigger, at least three times that size,” he said. “I do build large properties but by building small, I can also offer more value for money - the dwellings in Swaffham for example will all have fully tiled bathrooms and integrated appliances in the kitchens all of a really high standard - often even with new homes now you have to pay extra for things.

“Basically it comes down to supply and demand.”

Tony Abel, managing director of Watton-based Abel Homes, said: “I have an empathy with what is being proposed. ‘Liveability’ is a concept which we talk about a lot, and having sufficient living space is a key part of that. We have been building homes with bigger living spaces and gardens for some years, because we believe that many people want to live in a home which does not feel cramped.

“However, it is important to say that this extra space comes at a cost. If you make homes bigger, you cannot build so many on each acre of land, and they consume more materials, and all of this is reflected in the end price. There are plenty of people who are prepared to pay that extra cost – but we should not forget that for many people, affordability is a major issue.

“For those who are struggling financially, is it better to be able to afford a smaller home than not to be able to afford a home at all? If we create rules about minimum house size, we need to be very careful that we don’t price people out of the market altogether. Certainly we should have planning laws that allow for lower housing density, and hence larger homes with more living space. But we have to recognise that not everybody can afford the extra cost that this entails, and so instinctively I feel that we should let the market provide what people want. One final point: if we do want new homes to be built at lower density, then we will have to accept that building them will eat up more land. That can be difficult to accept, but it is the reality. Joff Brooker, of north Norfolk-based Fleur Developments said: “We are not in the business of building small houses or flats for the very reason that people are probably signing up to this objection. Our clients generally expect a house with space to live and work and entertain.

“Where we design in three bedrooms, larger developers would probably fit four or five bedrooms for example. That said, it is the general market which will dictate whether there is a demand for such smaller homes. They are by the nature of them very economic to run and reduce the impact on the environment and land take so in some ways it is not a negative route to take. Having some outside space is an issue, being private or shared it is essential for a family orientated home.” And Marc Langdon, of Bidwells New Homes, said: “There are cost implications with larger homes which could have a negative impact on the market.” The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) says it has convinced the government to introduce a space standard requirement across the whole of England to ensure that the millions of new homes being planned and built are fit for purpose, and able to meet the requirements of the people who live in them. It comes as the UK has the smallest new build homes in the whole of western Europe – smaller than countries including The Netherlands, which has less space and even higher population density levels. RIBA research has revealed Yorkshire for example, a county with one of the lowest population densities in England, has been building the smallest new build homes in England.

Introducing a minimum space standard has been a major campaign for RIBA and 2,850 people backed its call for the introduction of this standard during a consultation in 2013 – a high turnout for a response to a Department for Communities and Local Government technical consultation. Now RIBA says the government has pledged to introduce minimum space standards for all new build homes across England. Local authorities will be able to sign up to a national minimum space standards to ensure that any proposals for new housing in their area is required to meet this requirement, says RIBA.

6 comments

  • Greed, greed, greed by the developers and small builders. However, the savage promotion of higher prices and propoganda from estate agents, cheap mortgages, etc. has raised people's expectation and made houses unaffordable.......houses are for living in not as increasing value investments as estate agents like to tell you. The government are also guilty due to promoting ownership on the basis that it's an increasing value asset and you must get on the 'bandwagon'. Go back to higher interest rates and that will straighten things out - fast! However, that could now be political suicide: but how do the politicians 'square' with disgusted savers - the powerful 'grey' vote - before the next election? Watch this space..............!

    Report this comment

    308GT4

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

  • All down to greed I'm afraid,more houses per sq metre equals more profit and profit is the name of the game ,land is left undeveloped to keep a house shortage to keep prices up,there is plenty of space to build on.

    Report this comment

    trev57

    Saturday, November 15, 2014

  • Bring back the Parker Morris house size standards!

    Report this comment

    MattW

    Saturday, November 15, 2014

  • ….. Daisy Roots! It's a huge subject...To live in basic accommodation in this century!...No new buildings should be allowed unless they meet basic comfort standards!.... No lounge should be less than 16x10(160sq ft) .No bedroom however used, ( office, utility, storage for household appliances),should be less than 12x10 (120sq ft)..No kitchen should be less than12x 8 (96sq ft)...No Bathroom should be less than 8x6.(48 sq ft).and internal passages at least 3ft wide....Car Parking needs at least 16 x10, covered or not, with space to manoeuvre the same size....If builders and developers had to meet these regulations they would soon come up with a suitable selling price, if they wanted to stay in business!.....And if the experts calculate my 1000sq ft bungalow with double garage at £240 per sq ft, I should be looking at a selling price of around £240,000 or more....lucky me!.....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Saturday, November 15, 2014

  • This is one small step to redress the damage the planners and developers have done in the last few years.Estates which could rapidly become shabby slums because of poor build quality and planning trends have been thrown up all over the region. It is a fallacy that there is a land shortage driving up prices, the reality is that as soon as a council designates land as a permitted development area developers buy it up and then sit on it-or leave landowners in a financial planning nightmare of supposed increased value but no buyers by refusing to roll out their planning applications. Developers are keeping prices artificially high and building rabbit hutches .I have been looking with a family member at new homes and have seen particulars of new supposedly three bed houses with the third room too small for even a single bed and houses with bedrooms big enough only for a bed but no wardrobe. Then we have planner stupidity dictating how homes will be laid out- main rooms facing onto open spaces and access roads to improve neighbourhood security-which in reality means a sitting room looking at the neighbours car parked in front of the window or a view of dogs c****ing or footballs in windows. Houses built bang on the pavements-something even builders of Edwardian terraces tried to rise above-so that dust from the road gets in more easily and so it is more dangerous for families with kids to exit their own front door. Huge five bed houses build at angles to each other so no one has a bit of privacy in their back garden and every one overshadows the other. Estates built which do not acknowledge the number of cars the occupants are likely to need because of no public transport -so there are cars parked up on every pavement. Homes with shared accesses, and shared cart shed style garages-potential for disputes about space. Everything done on the cheap and sold dear. It is a disgraceful way to build and can only work when all the neighbours are considerate , one imagines it is dreamt up by those who have never had to live in such a way. No reason for it other than developer avarice and lack of government respect for living standards.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, November 15, 2014

  • A good example of the market not providing goods that are fit for purpose. We have the smallest new homes in Europe, most no larger than a tube train carriage. TINY! The excuses the developers use is bogus as the Netherlands can build good quality, decent sized homes because they actually use architects to design intelligently, rather than noddy box builders. If the market was compelled to build slightly large floorspaces why not built 3 or 4 storeys e.g basements. Just as the victorians did cheaply and effectively. Land valuations would have to adapt to changed developments and developers would have to innovate to ensure properties could be sold at price points for starter and family homes. 20 years ago developers would never build on brown build giving excuses not to do so. Dont believe them, its just plain greed and inertia. We deserve better and the government must set minimum space standards otherwise families will end up living in studio flats with bunk beds as housing costs continue to inflate!.

    Report this comment

    itsme73

    Friday, November 14, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

property mortgage finder

Property E-edition

cover

Enjoy the Property
E-edition

Read

Mustard TV

Meet the Property Editor

Caroline Culot

email | @CarolineJCulot

I am the property editor in charge of delivering some exciting and informative content within Archant’s varied titles. We have 16-17 pages of stories, features and columns in the EDP Property supplement out every Friday free in your EDP so please don’t miss it.

Ultimate Property E-edition

cover

Enjoy the Ultimate
Property E-edition

Subscribe
Do you have a Question or Problem? Ask our expert for property advice Police.uk

Crime figures for your area