The UK’s Changing Spaces
The UK is currently experiencing a housing boom. Property prices are on the up, but house sizes are actually shrinking. So, what can you do if you need more space but can’t afford, or simply can’t find, the right size home to give you what you need?
We take a look at what’s changed in the housing market, how this may affect you and explore changes you can make to maximise your space at home..
House prices are going up but homes are getting smaller
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average house price in the UK has risen by 3.15% since 2016, and more than 13% in the last decade. And when you look back over the last 40 years since house prices in 1981, there has been an astounding 149% rise in property prices (1).
With property prices increasing you may think house sizes would be increasing with them, or at least staying the same; however, according to data from the Department for Levelling Up, house sizes are also on the decline. While the average floor area of a UK home in 2016 was approximately 104.6 square metres, this dropped to 87.9 square metres in 2021, a decrease of almost 16% (2). This means the few people who can afford to move are likely to get less house than they would have done six years ago.
Unfortunately, wages are not keeping up. UK salaries are down 4.3% in the last 5 years since 2016 and have fallen more than 7% in the last 10 years (3), meaning many first-time buyers and existing homeowners simply cannot afford to move.
Why do we need more space?
Recent statistics show that although the sizes of houses are getting smaller, the average number of occupants in houses across the UK has remained relatively stable over the last decade (4).
As well as this, the recent COVID-19 pandemic increased the amount of time we spent at home. Not only did our homes need to be the place we ate and slept, but they also needed to offer a flexible workspace and exercise area. With many of us continuing to work from home, those changes have now become a permanent fixture.
Dining room tables have doubled up as desks and spare rooms have become home offices and suddenly, we have lost space and gained more furniture.
How could a garden building give me the extra space I need?
When you’ve done all you can to maximise the space inside your home, it may be time to look at what you can do outside. While extensions can be expensive, garden buildings are cost-effective and provide the perfect solution for all your additional space needs. Not only are they practical, but they’re also versatile, providing the perfect outdoor sanctuary – like a child’s treehouse, but for adults!
At Tiger, we have a range of strong and durable garden buildings in a choice of sizes, made from the finest quality Timber to help keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. We can also create bespoke sheds and summerhouses tailored to your individual requirements. Plus, a quality garden shed/summerhouse is said to increase the value of a property, which can help to mitigate the housing crisis when homeowners eventually come to sell.
Using a garden building (such as The Siberian or The Balinese log cabins or the Vista Full Pane Summerhouse)as your home office would be the perfect place to work in peace and quiet, while also helping you to keep your work and home life separate.
If you’re running out of room in the house for your kids to play, Tiger has a selection of playhouses that such as the Tigercub Luxury Lounge which can be customised with colourful bunting and cosy blankets to make it an inviting place for your kids to play games and have adventures.
A garden building, whether log cabins like The Procas or The Milne, or summerhouses like the Contemporary Retreat range, can also be used as a flexible space , using them as a place to sit and dine alfresco with friends, an area to escape to after a long day at work, or simply as a somewhere to provide extra storage and free up more home space.
Lauren Coley, Head of Product at Tiger Sheds, commented:
“With the recent cost of living crisis, it’s vitally important that British homeowners can do what they can to make the most out of their homes. It’s undeniable that we have less space now than 5 years ago, despite house prices rising massively, but with the pandemic now is the time when we actually need more space in our home lives.
“Remote working has made it hard to switch off, with living rooms becoming offices, laptops making their way into beds, even lunch being made while on mute on a Zoom call. We know from endless mental health studies over the past two years that being able to switch off after work is crucial for mental wellbeing, which is why investing in some outdoor space, whatever you may want that to look like, is a method of self-care you’ll be reaping the benefits of for years to come.”
How to maximise space in your outdoor room
To make the most out of any space, here are some quick and easy tips to help you maximise your space:
If you want to use your space for a variety of functions, such as a workout area, guest space and home office, you may want to invest in multi-purpose furniture. Ottoman boxes are great places to store workout equipment while also doubling up as seating, and chair beds offer you a comfy place to sit during the day and a place for guests to sleep at night.
Small-space design tips
If you only have a small room don’t worry, there are plenty of ways you can maximise the space with some simple and easy interior design tips for small rooms. For example, letting in lots of natural light and using lighter, pastel shades of paint to decorate the room will help to open up the space and help it look bigger. Placing larger items at the outside edges of the room will help prevent the central space from looking overcrowded. Foldaway furniture is also a great way to save space; laptop desks that fold down from the wall will avoid the need for a large bulky desk and can easily be stowed away at the end of the day.
Leaving your belongings out can make a room feel cluttered, so invest in creative storage solutions to keep the area neat and tidy and maximise your floor space. Consider floating shelves for books, wall hooks to hang up your yoga mat and plenty of cleverly concealed wall cupboards.
You can find even more room ideas and inspiration on how to create your perfect outdoor space here.
1) Nationwide: UK house prices adjusted for inflation. https://www.nationwidehousepriceindex.co.uk/resources/f/uk-data-series
Methodology: All house price information is derived using Nationwide mortgage data. The dataset provides average house prices for each year, which had already been adjusted for inflation using the Office for National Statistics Retail Price Index. Therefore, we simply plotted this data, along with the line of best fit, and calculated the percentage change from 1981, 2011 and 2016 to 2021.
Exact sample sizes are not provided as it depends on the volume of monthly mortgage activity. However, Nationwide state that sample sizes are sufficient to produce a representative house price series, as they are currently the second largest mortgage lender in the UK, with a 12% share of the gross house purchase market over the last three years.
2) Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities: Energy Performance of Buildings Data England and Wales. https://epc.opendatacommunities.org/domestic/search
Methodology: When EPCs are collected, one measure is the total floor area. We grouped the data by year and calculated the average total floor area per year. This was plotted on Figure 1, with the line of best fit to predict the total floor area for 2011. We then calculated the percentage change from 2011, 2016 and 2017 to 2021.
More technical explanation: The line of best fit is plotted using the ‘linregress’ function from the ‘stats’ python module. This also provides the slope and intercept of the line (-2.602857142857141 and 5348.083809523805 respectively), which can then be substituted into the equation: y = mx + c, in order to predict total floor area in 2011 à -2.602857142857141 *2011 + 5348.083809523805 = 113.74.
3) Office for National Statistics: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings. Dataset: Earnings and hours worked, age group: ASHE Table 6. https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/datasets/agegroupashetable6
Methodology: This data provides the median annual earnings for full-time employees from 1999 to 2021, with very large sample sizes (Figure 7). We adjusted these values for inflation using the Bank of England inflation calculator, which uses the Office for National Statistics Retail Price Index. We then plotted this data, along with the line of best fit, and calculated the percentage change from 2011 and 2016 to 2021.
4) Office for National Statistics: All data related to Families and households in the UK: 2021. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/families/datasets/familiesandhouseholdsfamiliesandhouseholds
Methodology: This dataset provides the number of households each year with one person, two people, three people etc. It has very large sample sizes (Figure 4), and also provides the average household size per year. Therefore, we simply plotted this data, along with the line of best fit, and calculated the percentage change from 2011 and 2016 to 2021.