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A micro home, or a commute to Rome?

Wednesday 21 August 2019 Data Insight & AnalyticsProperty Development

Maddie Penfold's picture
By Maddie Penfold

The average London commuter could travel to Rome in the time spent each day getting to and from work, and the sad reality is, most commutes don’t end in the sunshine and with an Aperol Spritz- unless you’re really lucky.




Every day the average London commuter spends over two hours travelling to and from work; it is a tale we all know too well. The aggressive beeping as you finally reach the tube platform means only one thing, you must take your life in your hands and jump before the doors slam shut, only to find that every seat is occupied. It feels as though the morning couldn’t get worse, but then, as you’re crammed in like sardines, there is the gentle realisation that your train isn't going anywhere fast and your new friend next to you, who you appear to be (not through choice) embracing, is enjoying their music at a debatably antisocial volume. For the remaining journey, without much else to do, there is now plenty of time to contemplate why London house prices have reached a level that forces you to live through this for over two hours a day.


This goes beyond passive-aggressive exchanges with strangers all before your morning coffee. Research undertaken by the BBC, shows that those lucky Londoners whose commute is under half an hour suffer with considerably less anxiety and other mental health problems than any other commuting group.  With 550,000 more people having moved out of the city over the past decade than in, stressful commuting conditions could be a significant factor. According to CACI’s very own PayCheck data, in central London almost half of people’s income goes on rent and where they live feels like light-years away from where they work and play.


Now, you have heard the doom and gloom, but what could be done about this? Could micro homes be the solution to this affordability crisis that is making so many so miserable?




Micro Homes vary in shape and size, but put simply, these dynamic living areas take up less space than the average apartment by using hyper efficient designs and smart innovations. Bedrooms can be transformed by folding the bed into the wall which subsequently unveils a sofa and wardrobes can rotate revealing televisions which are already attached to the wall. Hey presto, you have a living room without infringing on personal space. Hundreds of gadgets can be hidden within these micro homes, to ensure absolute efficiency of the limited space, thus using less space in high demand areas, reducing the cost of living and giving people an alternative to moving further and further out of the city. To enrich the living experience, micro-housing can be accompanied by communal amenities such as games rooms and common rooms that address threats of loneliness.




Carmel Place, Manhattan, was the first micro home unit in New York and remains the tallest. Completed in spring 2016 and fully leased by the following October, the building was part of the Mayor’s ‘New Housing Market Plan’ to combat shortages and to accommodate the growth of small household renters in the city. The block provides 55 micro apartments, all constructed modularly through the stacking of 65 individual self-supporting steel framed units. The block offers a unique opportunity for affordable housing in Manhattan with 40% of the units housing previously homeless U.S veterans.




However, housing regulation requires residential properties to occupy a minimum of 37 metres squared to ensure a certain quality of life. Micro Housing though should not be confused with slicing up already existing properties and sacrificing living conditions, they are smart modern designs that have won many prestigious architectural awards. If regulation could be reduced to a lower mandatory square footage, in certain cases, micro homes would be available in prime areas at affordable prices without compromising on personal space.


Of course, they are not without criticism. Families, people with disabilities or people who like to use their homes as a dancefloor on a Saturday night (you know who you are) will come up against issues.  Micro living doesn't make sense for everyone just like flat shares, commuting long distances and living alone don't.  However, they would increase choice when it comes to housing, something that not many Londoners have the luxury of.


When it comes to choice and understanding people’s needs and preferences, here at CACI we pride ourselves in knowing exactly what different demographics look for. May that be choosing where to live or where to shop. If you think this could help you and your business do get in touch with our team of experts to learn more.

The average London commuter could travel to Rome in the time spent each day getting to and from work, and the sad reality is, most commutes don’t end in the sunshine and with an Aperol Spritz- unless you’re really lucky.

A micro home, or a commute to Rome?