The Popularity of Blocks of Flats Living
Introduction – In the last 30 years blocks of flats or individual flats in blocks have gained in popularity, there are a number of reasons for this and at the present moment,purchasing a flat offers a cheaper way to obtain property for both first time buyers and for buy to let landlords looking to be able to acquire property for rental purposes. In Britain the days of families living in large houses seem to be gone, the trend is towards smaller more compact units or flats, often former large buildings are either converted in to blocks of flats or the property demolished in it’s entirety and a modern purpose built block erected in it’s place. Blocks of flats enable larger numbers of people to be housed in smaller spaces, an important consideration in The United Kingdom where land is at a premium.
We have real issues at the present moment with the supply of new homes, quite simply not enough are being built to meet demands. The government policy of not allowing property to be built on Green belt land has lead to a shortage of space and often new buildings have to be erected on less popular brown field sites. Regrettably, many UK citizens take a very parochial attitude to the need for new housing stock, the ‘not in my back garden” attitude is fairly widespread, most people realise that house prices are escalation because of good old fashioned supply and demand but hardly anyone wants new properties built near there own. Partly because of these reasons, the United Kingdom is struggling to house it’s population and with more people deciding to settle in this country each day, the problem is becoming more acute. In 1981 there were 4% more properties than households but by 2001, there were 4.2% fewer properties than households in London. The situation is set to get worse especially with new build homes at it’s lowest for over 70 years.
Blocks of flats or conversions are a viable method of dealing with our current housing problems, in cities such as London, Manchester and Liverpool, many large Victorian houses have already been converted to flats enabling more people to be housed in less space. If we are truly to deal with our expanded population in years to come we have either to give over more green belt land for construction or allow more buildings to be converted in to blocks of flats. If you are considering purchasing a flat for rental purposes, you will be probably find that it is easier to rent at the moment than if you purchased a whole house. Not only are flats cheaper but certain economic and social changes within our country means that the demand for flats has never been higher.
Demand for Blocks of Flats
The following factors are all contributing to an increased demand for flats.
- The number of actually households in the united Kingdom is increasing and the number of one person households has dramatically increased. The incidence of divorce has risen as has single patent families. There is also evidence to suggest that many people simply quite like living alone in a small contained flat. Flats and maisonettes are thus in great demand, they are cheaper to buy and often in the right location, rental yields can be good. Since 1991 the number of one person households has increased by 1,000,000. Economists are predicting that within the next 5years up to 25% of all households will be one person orientated
- There has a been a big increases in the number of students requiring accommodation and there is not enough on campus accommodation to go around. Traditionally students have sought to share properties and many buy to let landlords have purchased property with the intention of letting to this sector of the market. However, in larger cities where property prices are at a premium, this is not always a viable option and many families are electing to buy a small flat for their children whilst they re attending university within our cities. In 2003 33% of school leavers went on to further education, the government plan to increase this to 50% by 2010.
- The population of the United kingdom is aging, advances in medicine mean that we are all living longer. However this is again putting a strain on housing and many more flats are required to keep pace with demand.
- Social changes in our country mean that there is a lot less stigma attached to renting that there was 25 years Ago. Many people choose to rent believing that property prices are simply too high. Renting flats is very popular, many people choose to live in a small flat in this country and invest their income abroad in a much larger and cheaper property.
- Work pasterns have also contributed to the need for more flats, often people rent property because they are not employed in the same place for more than a short period of time. Renting a flat or apartment can be fairly cost effective and many flats are snapped up by employers looking to house employees often ones that have arrived from overseas on short term work placements.
One of the negative effects of property price increases is the fact that now homes are beyond the reach of many first time buyers. Buying a flat in a block is a viable alternative as they are cheaper and offer an excellent way to get on the property ladder. property developers know that may people have been priced out of the housing market and their reaction to this has been to construct blocks of flats where of the course the individual flat prices are often considerably lower.
If you do decide to buy a flat within a block or conversion for rental purposes, remember that the same rules and regulations apply as to letting a whole house. You will have to have the gas appliances checked and a certificate issued, you must make sure that the electrics are in good order and that any furniture you supply for the use of the tenant satisfies the furniture & Furnishing safety regulations. Before purchasing your flat in a block, it is a good idea that you ask your solicitor to make sure that under the terms of the lease you are allowed to let your property. In some blocks the residents are not too keen on flats that are rented out so it is best to check before you make your purchase.