A new detailed study of 450,000 UK houses has revealed that homes have been decreasing in size every decade since the 1950s, with the average living room of a new build in 2020 almost 20% smaller (194.9 sq ft) than the average 1950s home (237 sq ft).

The research from national home buying service Spring’s MoveSmart platform, utilising data from Propalt, goes back to the 1930s, highlighting that rooms were at their smallest during this period, with the average living room spanning 172.6 sq ft, the master bedroom of 165.7 sq ft and kitchen 132 sq ft.

These figures steadily climbed until the 1960s and 1970s before starting to decline significantly after this, as Government planning policy steering towards higher density housing on brownfield sites instead of spacious housing on greenfield sites.

LIS Show – MPU

Interestingly, today’s homes are closest in size to their 1940s counterparts.

In more recent years the change in size has been less pronounced, although housing prices, not just new builds, have still risen exponentially with high double digit growth in many areas.

During the 2000s, the average size of a living room was 212.5 sq ft which now stands at 194.9 sq ft, a decrease of 8.06%.

The average size of a master bedroom during the 2000s was 144.5 sq ft, which now stands at 142.4 sq ft, a decrease of 3.05%, while the average size of a kitchen was 144.5 sq ft, now standing at 142.4 sq ft, a decrease of 1.05%.

Although smaller than their conventional counterparts, the delivery of new build homes across the UK is crucial to plug the gap of the housing shortage caused by growing population figures.

New build homes are highly energy efficient compared to older housing stock in the UK and are also perfect for first time buyers looking to get their first step on the ladder who don’t want the surprise factor that comes with an older property

Samar Shaheryar, CO-CEO of Spring, comments:

“Following sustained periods of soaring house price growth combined with the increasing cost of borrowing, modern day house hunters are chasing less space for more money.

The data tells a fascinating story of economic, cultural and societal changes, starting with the 1930s housing boom that helped Britain recover from a double rip recession, through to the rise of home entertaining in the 1950s signalling an increase in living room sizes.

Then came the 1970s which saw the volume housebuilder make its mark, with rooms since getting progressively smaller as some developers strived to maximise the number of available plots on a piece of land while housing policy pushed for higher density development.

Spring’s MoveSmart platform allows movers and estate agents alike to have a wealth of property data at their fingertips for free.

Using the search tool, comparing up to three locations at once, users can find out how quickly properties in any three outcodes (the first three characters of a postcode) have been selling, from listing to completion, along with a breakdown of comparable properties for sale or sold within the area, plus average square foot prices and even the estimated cost of household bills, ensuring buyers and sellers have everything they need to make the smart choice for their next home.”

Year Living room Kitchen Master bedroom Average number of beds
1930 172.6 sq ft 132 sq ft 165.7 sq ft 3.31
1940 184.3 sq ft 148.9 sq ft 148.3 sq ft 3.68
1950 237.3 sq ft 156.7 sq ft 150.8 sq ft 3.16
1960 227 sq ft 170.8 sq ft 162.4 sq ft 3.22
1970 268.3 sq ft 161.5 sq ft 169 sq ft 3.53
1980 237.7 sq ft 148.5 sq ft 151.1 sq ft 3.58
1990 230.1 sq ft 148.4 sq ft 150.4 sq ft 3.42
2000 212.5 sq ft 144.5 sq ft 146.6 sq ft 3.31
2010 211.8 sq ft 144.6 sq ft 146.1 sq ft 3.28
2020 194.9 sq ft 142.4 sq ft 141.5 sq ft 3.24
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