Despite a fall in the size of the average household, three and four bedroom houses now account for the lion”s share of newly-built properties in the UK.
According to the Halifax, houses with three or more bedrooms accounted for over two thirds of competed houses in 2000/2001. This was up from just under half in 1990/91.
The news came as SmartNewHomes.com showed demand for detached homes was waning, in the face of demand for apartments. At the beginning of 2002, SmartNewHomes. com said 35% of searches were for apartments – a figure which had risen to 47% by October. In the same period, demand for detached homes fell from 48% to 38%. The website has details of new-build properties from half of the UK”s house builders and claims to get 400,000 visits from homebuyers every month.
David Bexon, chief executive of SmartNewHomes.com, said: “This highly revealing change in demand for new homes is setting the stage for the future of house building in the UK. Although detached houses were the most common property being built in the past, this trend is likely to change in the future due to important shifts in consumer demand.”
The Halifax claimed that not only were the wrong houses being built, but there were also simply not enough of them. Martin Ellis, chief economist at the Halifax, commented: “If the current pace of new-house-build continues there will be a major shortage of homes in the UK by 2021.”
• See p10 for further news on UK house building.