Living in micro-homes could “expand choice” for young professionals and help tackle London’s housing crisis, a report has suggested. A neoliberal think tank is calling for the Greater London Authority (GLA) to scrap its rules on minimum floor space.
The Adam Smith Institute said homes in the capital with less than 37 sq m of floor space could be an “affordable opportunity” for young people. But the GLA said “cramming people in” was not the answer to the problem.
If by “housing crisis” they mean high rents and prices, they could hardly be wronger.
By and large, demand in the “housing market” is not for bricks and mortar in themselves, it is for access to public services, i.e. all services or amenities opportunities accessible by the public from any location. It makes no difference whether those things are provided by the government (schools, hospitals) or private businesses (jobs, leisure opportunities). And the total rent or price payable is a function of average wages in an area, so is pretty fixed.
The total payable to live anywhere is the value of bricks and mortar (less than half in most parts of the UK) plus value of public services. You can shave down the value of bricks and mortar a bit, but the value of public services would stay the same, or even go up a bit because of agglomeration benefits. If more people live somewhere, the private businesses will offer a greater variety of leisure and spending opportunities and a greater variety of jobs.
Compare – flats in Hong Kong or most Japanese cities are absolutely tiny, but they are still outrageously expensive. Homes in Germany are a lot larger than in the UK, but they are no more expensive.
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