By Thomas Homes on 23/11/2015

The cost of housing in major towns and cities across the UK has given birth to a new trend: micro-living. Micro-apartments are designed to cater for a generation of young urban inhabitants who are unable to or prefer not to buy or rent a traditional home in the town or city of their choice.

The genesis of this movement started in Asia, where living room in big cities has always been squeezed and apartment sizes have traditionally been small compared to Europe. Developers have responded to the property boom in Hong Kong by creating ever-smaller apartments. Li Ka-shing, reckoned to be the richest person in Asia, is behind a development called Mont Vert, which includes apartments ranging from just 165 ft2 to 196 ft2.

In London, a recent study by Knight Frank found that 45 per cent of 18-to-24-year-olds and 37 per cent of 35-to-44-year-olds would consider living in a studio flat of around 300 ft2.

The Channel 4 series Amazing Spaces highlighted the possibilities of small builds, and it's a challenge that has aroused the interest of architects and developers, not least because of the environmental benefits. With housing pressure in London and other major cities set to intensify, for the generation just starting out, micro-living is set to become an increasingly familiar experience.

Thomas Homes has identified this trend and recently completed a conversion of the Chambers office building in Reading into 46 apartments, which included studios from 246 ft2. Interest from investors and owner occupiers was immense and all the apartments were sold off plan in a matter of weeks. A similar office conversion at 310 Kings Road in Reading included 45 apartments from 363 ft2.

310 Kings Road        

Chris Brotherton, Land Director at Thomas Homes said "In dynamic towns and cities in the Thames Valley such as Reading and Oxford where there is an acute housing shortage we're seeing young people embracing micro-apartments situated in well placed and well connected locations where all the services and leisure facilities they could want are on the doorstep. We're keen to do a number of similar developments, to the extent the planning framework allows."

310 Kings Road

Apartments at the recently completed Chambers and 310 Kings Road developments are currently available to let through Haslams Estate Agents, tel (0118) 960 1000 or www.haslams.net.

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