29 Sep Micro Homes
Micro Homes: A solution to our housing crisis
No matter what the government try and do we are not getting a grip on our housing crisis. We are dependent on a few large national developers building vast estates and barely affordable prices, even with the “Help to buy scheme”. The result is an unsustainable supply of low quality housing that few can afford.
Young people are especially affected and more and more are being driven into the private rental sector. Recent government legislation penalising landlords with draconian tax increases will only drive rents up.
It all sounds doom and gloom but there is a possible solution on the horizon. Alastair Parvin is the brains behind WikiHouse. His dream is to utilise technology and make housing more affordable and tailored to the needs of a modern lifestyle. He wants to do to the building industry what Uber and Airbnb has done to the taxi and hotel industry.
His aim is to create a website where users will input measurements and standards, the website will then interpret this data and produce a plan, predict cost and a listing of all materials required down to the last screw.
Materials and components will be distributed by a network of local suppliers with the idea of creating a platform of expertise and community help to enable the build program.
He hopes to be able to offer small studio kits from £12,000, micro houses from £45,000 and town houses from £150,000.
What is not included is the cost of the land, however this is another area where change is happening. Local authorities are realising that self-build is a growing sector and are starting to allocate sites where small building plots could lend themselves to this new micro build self-build idea. The UK government have also acknowledged that self-build is an important part of our housing future and have committed to doubling the self-build sector.
This could also help the ever-growing problem of affordable inner city living. Micro apartments are a very real idea and are in use in Brazil and Japan. It is a trade-off between living in a larger property out of the city and commuting or choosing smaller accommodation in city centres. We can see this starting to happen in Cities such as Liverpool and Manchester. Affinity living with small communities including gyms, coffee bars, bike stores and cinema rooms. Common areas to be used by all residents creating a feeling of community as well as providing much needed services. It is an extension of student style living but reaching out to young professional people for residential use.
The industry needs radical change and with the rising popularity in Smart Homes and the desire of young people to embrace new technology this is one idea I would suggest keeping a careful eye on.