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Sunday, June 26, 2022

London’s smallest microflat sells for 80% above asking price | London

A 7-square-metre microflat, cramming in a bed, toilet, shower, sink and a microwave tucked under the pillow, has sold for 80% above its minimum listing price at £90,000.

The microflat, located in a Victorian conversion in Lower Clapton, east London, is believed to be the capital’s smallest-ever property, marking a turn towards tiny homes driven by the UK’s housing crisis of soaring rent and property prices.

The apartment had a minimum price at auction of £50,000, but sold at 80% higher at £90,000. After its listing it was described on social media as a “posh cell”.

It was bought for £103,500 in May 2017. But the owner has already recouped their investment by receiving £800 a month in rent.

The microproperty encapsulates the growing trend of tiny homes, experts told the Guardian this week, as soaring rent and property prices accelerate demand for microflats.

The entrance to the microproperty.
The entrance to the microproperty. Photograph: Jill Mead/The Guardian

Asking prices for homes joining the market in Britain climbed by a record 2.3% in February, according to the property website Rightmove, and the Office for National Statistics found the average cost of renting for UK tenants rose by 2% in 2021 – the largest annual jump in five years.

The Clapton flat, which has a large window, has recently been renovated. To maximise space, it has a captain’s bed above storage space, cupboards and a microwave. The space between the bed and the wall is about wide enough to spread your arms in, and there’s a foldout table for eating or working on. A toilet and shower are in a separate wet room.

The toilet and wet room.
The toilet and wet room. Photograph: Jill Mead/The Guardian

The property’s current tenant lives elsewhere for most of the time and spends just a night or two each week in the flat, for work.

The TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp recently caused anger by suggesting young people could afford to buy homes if they spent less on the gym, easyJet flights, coffee and Netflix. Critics replied that, when Allsopp bought her first flat, the average home cost £50,000 and measured 73.4 sq m – 10 times bigger than the Clapton flat.

Stuart Collar-Brown, the director of My Auction, which is selling the flat, said that although it was the cheapest flat with a long leasehold on the market within a 10-mile radius, he expected it would be bought by an investor rather than a first-time buyer, as high street banks will not lend on properties below 30 sq m.

With rental income estimated at about £10,000, investors were likely to be able to recoup the £50,000 outlay within five years, Collar-Brown said.

Suitable tenants would not spend much time at home and would be those who were tired of house-sharing but unable to afford more space, or who lived elsewhere and needed a crash pad for work, he added. For instance, doctors or nurses working in nearby Homerton hospital, or workers in the City, given the area’s good transport links to Liverpool Street.

As one user posted on Twitter: “Forget swinging a cat here”.

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