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New research, commissioned by Royal Mail’s Address Management Unit (AMU), has found that flats are fast becoming the property of choice for consumers as they embrace single-storey living.
The new report¹ – which was released today – reveals that flats now make up nearly a quarter (23%) of all housing in the UK. The number of flats has increased 4.2% over the last four years, compared to total growth of 2.5% for all UK housing in the same period.
The figure was revealed after Royal Mail’s Address Management Unit partnered with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) on a study to investigate the growth of flats across the country. The study was commissioned after Royal Mail noticed that the number of flats, known as multiple residencies, added to the Postcode Address File (PAF) surged by 18% from April to December in 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. The total number of multiple residencies added to PAF between July 2016 and December 2016 was 33,220.
The findings have also revealed that London has the highest share, with flats comprising 54% of all housing in the capital. London also has the highest total number of flats (1.89 million) and has seen the greatest increase in the number of flats; 5.8% over the last four years.
Scotland has the second greatest number of flats – 971,678 – equating to 38% of housing in the area, followed by the South East (824,290 and 22% share of housing). East of England has seen the fastest growth in the number of flats, after London, with an increase of 5.3% for the same period.
Northern Ireland has the lowest share and number of flats compared to other property types. Multiple Residencies only account for a tenth of all housing in Northern Ireland (11%) the equivalent of 85,540 properties. Semi-detached and detached properties are also more popular in Wales, with flats only accounting for 13% of the housing stock, equating to 1.4 million properties.
Drilling down to postcode district, Glasgow and Edinburgh lead the charge when it comes to the total number of flats – the cities are home to 221,929 and 164,174 flats respectively. Birmingham comes in next with 110,410, closely followed by Westminster which has 110,230 multiple residencies.
Kensington and Chelsea is home to the most expensive multiple residencies in the country. The average price tag of a flat there is £1.16 million, more than 26 times the price of the UK’s lowest average flat price which is in Blaenau Gwent in South Wales.
Investing in flats is also paying dividends for owners. The areas around the UK with the biggest average price increase of a flat are:
|Location||Average cost in Aug 12||Average cost in Aug 16||% Increase|
|3.||East of England||£131,779||£188,380||43%|
|11.||North East||£83,783||£ 91,301||9%|
Steve Rooney, head of Royal Mail’s Address Management Unit, said: “The Address Management Unit team makes up to 3,000 updates and changes a day to the Postcode Address File. This allows us to spot any new or developing trends.
“While the distribution of property types has been relatively stable for the last four years, the number of flats has grown more than any other property type. This rise is most likely due to high land prices limiting the possibility of building semi-detached and detached houses.
“The number of multiple residency additions has increased steadily over the last nine months and we fully expect this trend to continue for the near future.”