Property news roundup: Are kitchens getting smaller?

Plus, househunting by broadband speed, and searching offline

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The Independent Online

Kitchens are shrinking dramatically in new homes and conversions, suggest a new report.

Estate agents Marsh & Parsons say that partly because of an increase in Londoners eating out, kitchens now account for a smaller proportion of total living space in new build developments and conversions in the capital than ever before.

Their listings show growing numbers of flats with kitchens around the 6.5 sqm size, around  7-8 % of the whole internal area of the apartment or roughly half the size of an average car parking space. In the 1960s, the average British kitchen in a post-war new build was 8.8 sqm (95 sq ft)

"With less and less time spent preparing meals in the home, we are starting to see the kitchen completely disappear as a room in its own right, and instead being subsumed into the wider living and dining space," said Peter Rollings, CEO of Marsh & Parsons.

"Once a means of space-saving in tiny apartment blocks, combined kitchen-diners are now necessary for many house-hunters, and much more practical than a separate kitchen. Looking to the future, it begs the question whether the London kitchen is about to do a disappearing act on us altogether, or whether it has already ceased to exist as a must-have space?" 

Searching offline

Buying agent and property expert Henry Pryor estimates that there are 40 per cent more homes for sale than most people think.  "These days more and more sellers are choosing to let estate agents market their homes quietly which means that buyers now need to make more of an effort to find them," he says. "Off-market or the ‘grey’ market as it is sometimes called is no longer the preserve of the very rich. You’ll find most agents have more property they can get you into but they need to know and trust you so you need to ring around and get registered." Here's Henry below on Chris Evans's Radio 2 show this morning discussing how much of your house you really own...

Speedy searching

Rightmove has added information about broadband speeds and availability to its online home inventory. Research for the portal showed that users found that broadband details were a more important feature when searching for property than information on transport links and nearby schools.