I recently came across some articles discussing micro homes as being the result of the Permitted Development Rights Act which was introduced in 2013.
Micro homes are under 37 square meters which is the same size as a tube carriage. These are obviously not homes for the claustrophobic!
The articles all discussed the research done by Which? on Land Registry data. Over 7000 micro homes were built in 2016 which was an increase of more than 2000 on the figures for 2015.
One of the reasons put forward for the increase was that the Act allows developers to change the use of certain premises without planning permission.
This isn't strictly true. Planning permission is still required but the process is fast tracked and, for certain changes, the decision is automatically approved.
That technicality aside, the Act probably has allowed developers to change the use of unused shops (for example) into residential units much easier than they would have been able to before. The financial saving from not having to go through a formal planning process - alongside the guidance for planners to use planning conditions only when absolutely necessary - probably has meant that developers have had the extra cash to make the conversions cost effective for them.
Other possible reasons for the increase may be due to the housing crisis, the fact that people prefer to live near to where they work to avoid an expensive or time consuming commute, and/or that these properties are more affordable to the first time buyers.
Whatever the reason, the micro home looks here to stay so watch out for the opportunities for manufacturers to shrink the contents of our homes to fit!
Since the act came into force, the number of micro-homes in the UK has rocketed. Almost 8,000 were built in 2016, the highest number on record, according to Which? analysis of Land Registry data. Most are being built in urban areas such as London, Liverpool, and Bristol.