Micro-homes have potential to solve London's housing crisis

The Adam Smith Institute has claimed that living in micro-homes could enhance choice for young professionals in the capital and help tackle London's housing crisis.

The think tank is urging the Greater London Authority to scrap its rules on minimum floor space, saying that homes in the capital with less than 37 sq m of floor space could be an ‘affordable opportunity’ for young people.

With the average size of a home in England and Wales noted as 90 sq m, the Adam Smith Institute claims that ‘size doesn't matter, it's how you use it. Also claiming that more Londoners were ‘comfortable with living in smaller apartments’, the think tank also says that the Greater London Authority's minimum floor space requirement should be replaced with a minimum standard of living.

Report author and urban policy researcher Vera Kichanova stresses that while micro-housing is not a panacea or a replacement for planning reform, it could be a partial solution for those in cities like London that want to live close to where they work, as well as close to bars and restaurants.

Matthew Lesh, the institute’s head of research, said: “Small, but perfectly formed micro-homes would expand choice for young Londoners. There are many who would rather live close to the city centre, in a building full of amenities such as game rooms and co-working spaces, rather than spending hours commuting every day.

“London’s housing crisis is not just an economic problem, hurting growth because people cannot live where they would be most productive, it is also having very real and serious political ramifications. The lack of housing affordability is leading many to lose faith in the entire free market system. Housing policy reform is an urgent priority, and while micro-housing is no substitute for fundamental planning reform, it is an important first step.”

James Murray, deputy mayor for housing in London, said: "The solution to London's housing crisis is not to cram people into ever-smaller homes. We need to build more council, social-rented, and other genuinely affordable homes that are well-designed places to live. The mayor supports homes being built at higher densities, but this must not mean cutting back on space for individual homes."