The Government has launched a green paper on social housing which has had a mixed reaction but generally left people underwhelmed and feeling it misses the mark. What it has triggered is debate on how to deliver the affordable homes for people which are lacking and getting worse each year.
There is a school of thought that micro flats, co-living and shrinking home size is the answer to delivering the homes needed. This feels short sighted and completely missing the point. There is no way that micro flats and co-living offers anything other than a stop gap in people’s lives. There is a moment in time when you leave college and hit the outside World that someone may be content to have shrunken living space. In the long term? Well the Englishman wants their castle and no castle is going to fit into 25 square metres!
Surely the route to solving the issues is the property industry lowering their profit and financial return expectations to leave a legacy. If homes were built with more floor space then it would offer better quality of life for the owners and the renters. This would lead to a happier population and facilitate downsizing for the older generation and up sizing for the next generation.
I am convinced that property players do not put themselves in the shoes of the person they are building for. I have previously commented about how many property people have lived in or are still living in flats. Well of the new breed of micro flats and co-living, how many of the developers, architects and advisers live in their product? It is very easy to run around in a palatial home opining and delivering homes that you wouldn’t want to live in. Not being the target demographic doesn’t really wash on this.
While there is limited choice and lack of options, I would like to think that the property industry could rise to the challenge and be comfortable with lower value per square metre in order to deliver homes and communities that our children and grandchildren will look proudly upon. Not that another generational mistake has been made!