The typical size of new-build properties has reduced every decade for the past 40 years.

New-build homes have shrunk in size by 20% during the past 40 years with families now squeezing into properties that are a quarter of the size of a tennis court.

Modern homes have got smaller every decade since the 1970s, with the typical newly-built property now averaging just 67.8 square metres.

And the size of new-build homes has decreased by four square metres since 2010 alone, according to research by LABC Warranty.

Properties now have an average of just 2.6 bedrooms, down from 3.53 bedrooms in the 1970s.

With UK homes costing an average of £226,996, buyers are paying just under £3,396 per square metre.

The group, which also compared average property sizes across 20 major UK cities, found that the average size of a home varied by as much as 10 square metres across different locations, which in some cases was equivalent to having an additional room.

Above: new-build flat for sale on Chiswick High Road, west London

Why is this happening?

Rising house prices is likely to be the main driver of shrinking homes.

With housing affordability becoming increasingly stretched, developers are reducing the size of the properties they build to ensure people can still afford to buy them.

At the same time, increasing property values have a corresponding impact on land prices.

If developers are paying higher prices for land, they are likely to want to squeeze more homes on to a plot in order to protect their profits.

Finally, government planning laws, which favour high density developments, are also likely to have played a role.

What’s the background?

Sheffield has the smallest houses in the UK, averaging just 61 square metres, while it is also the only city in which every room is among the top 10 smallest for its type.

It is followed by Southampton, Bristol, Glasgow and Newcastle, where homes average around the 65 square metres mark.

At the other end of the spectrum, homes are biggest in Cambridge at nearly 72 square metres or nearly 20% bigger than properties in Sheffield.

It is followed by Oxford, which has the highest number of bedrooms at an average of 3.3, with Birmingham, Bournemouth and Belfast making up the top five.

Surprisingly, London, where house prices are highest, has only the sixth smallest properties in the survey, with homes coming in at around 65.65 square metres.

Above: new-build apartment for sale in Stamford Road, north London

The study uncovered some other interesting facts about the UK’s housing stock, with nearly three-quarters of homes having a garden.

Belfast emerged as having the biggest kitchens on average, while homes in Oxford boast the biggest bathrooms.

Master bedrooms were largest in Bournemouth, while they were smallest in Belfast, but properties in Glasgow had the fewest bedrooms at an average of just two.

Top 3 takeaways

  • New-build homes have shrunk in size by 20% during the past 40 years
  • The typical newly-built property now averages just 67.8 square metres
  • Homes now have an average of just 2.6 bedrooms, down from 3.53 bedrooms in the 1970s

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