New homes are getting smaller says new reportTwo bedrooms are more common than four

11 April 2007

New homes in the UK are getting smaller in the face of rising demand, a new report says.

Two-bedroom properties have replaced four-bedroom homes as the most common type of new build, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Demand for smaller houses is linked to the increasing number of people who live alone.

Between 2001/02 and 2005/06, the proportion of newly-built homes with two bedrooms in England rose from 25 per cent to 42 per cent.

This made them the most common type of new property, overtaking homes with four or more bedrooms, the ONS Social Trends report says.

Higher density

New houses are increasingly built at a higher density in order to meet demand.

In the decade to 2005, the average density of new homes built in England rose from 24 to 40 per hectare.

And in London the number of new properties squeezed into a hectare rose from an average 48 to 110 over the same period.

The number of dwellings in Britain has almost doubled from 13.8 million in 1951 to 25.5 million in 2005.

And the number of people living alone in Britain more than doubled from three million to seven million between 1971 and 2005.

Increased demand

'The trend towards smaller household sizes has contributed to the number of households increasing faster than the population and hence an increased demand for housing,' the report says.

Flats are becoming more popular, making up 46 per cent of all new homes built in England last year, compared to 15 per cent in 1997/98.

Meanwhile, complaints about noisy neighbours increased five-fold in the 20 years to 2004/05, with loud music and barking dogs the most common gripes.

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