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The Shed Economy

Published: 05/03/2020

Anyone who’s renting in the current property market is probably all too aware of how rent always seems to be going up despite nothing actually changing with the property itself.  Depending on where you are in the country, you might wonder how people can charge so much for lodgings so small. There are always places where you get more for your money than others, either with lower rent or slightly larger homes, but this got us thinking… If you could, how much cheaper would it be to up sticks and live in a shed instead? Obviously, this isn’t a real solution for beating the spiralling costs in the property market, but when you look at the difference in price versus the amount of space you’d have, it does make you wonder. Could we all be living better if we just moved into a shed in a friendly green space? And where would be the best place to pitch up?

UK cities by monthly cost per square metre[/caption] We took our Delta cabin as the baseline to measure the average flat sizes from some of the major cities from up and down the country. Following the ‘Nationally Described Space Standards’ our 35m2 shed comes in just under the minimum space required for new one-bedroom dwelling with a single bed space, but luckily it’s around the same size average flat nation-wide and a fair bit bigger than the average London flat. Clearly, the biggest advantage of living in a shed over a flat is the complete lack of rent. We’ve offset this in our calculations by spreading the cost over a monthly basis, essentially like a shed mortgage, but the shed would be yours to own! To make it a more even comparison, we’ve also included other utility costs, and the results are quite revealing… The closest contender is Belfast, where the rent is on the lower end of the scale, but bills are considerably cheaper month on month with low council tax, transport and energy costs. So, there’s the possibility that living in a shed in Belfast could combine the two elements and save you even more each month.

It’ll come as a surprise to no one that London is the worst offender here. Coming in at more that 5 times the cost per m2, London offers the smallest average flat size with the highest bills and average rent almost double the price of anywhere else in the country. However, what might come as a surprise is that London’s council tax is actually the cheapest in the country, which is fantastic because otherwise it’d cost even more to live there. Paul Gibbens, Director at property firm Housebuyers4U comments: “What would you prefer - a basic 40msq apartment in London or 254msq luxury Shed? That's a huge jump in space considering they would both cost around the same in London! While it's clear the monetary benefit isn’t as high up North, Southerners in England could see some amazing space or saving benefits if they were willing to try an approved shed based building like a summerhouse or log cabin.” It’s high figures like these that make people think outside the box and consider more radical alternatives – so maybe parking a shed down in a patch of your own isn’t such a wacky idea after all. If you’re curious about exploring our buildings in the search for your ideal pied-à-terre (or for more conventional garden uses) then take a look at our high quality timber sheds and cabins to find your perfect one...  

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