Imagine you have £275,000 to spend on a home. It is not a trifling amount – more than the average UK house price and enough to buy a chocolate box cottage with acres of land in Northumberland. Or you could invest in "possibly the smallest house in the world", barely the size of a lock-up garage, in a street in north London.
Advertised as a "one-bedroom terraced house", the miniature home on Richmond Avenue is actually just one room. The house – part of a trend for so-called "hutch living" in the capital – is in the fashionable neighbourhood of Barnsbury and handy for the myriad trendy bars and restaurants on Islington's Upper Street. Which is probably just as well, because with just 188 sq ft of living space including an airborne shelf to sleep on, the lucky buyer won't be inviting many friends round.
Photos on property website Zoopla show a raised living area – so that the essentials of life, like clothes, can be packed away beneath – with a table little bigger than a tea tray, two stools and two floor cushions. There's an equally compact kitchen area, with a cooker and sink in the corner.
Climbing the stairs to the "bedroom" (a 2.29m x 1.73m shelf) requires the owner to first clamber onto the kitchen work surface.
The "bathroom" is about the same size as a wardrobe, and the shower and toilet so close it is entirely possibly to use all the facilities at the same time.
The estate agent selling the house describes it as "unique" and there is no arguing with that. But with homes in the area usually selling for much more, it seems that size doesn't matter. An agent at the Upper Street branch of agent Winkworth told the Guardian they'd had two calls about the flat already – just a day after it went on the market. He said there was nothing else in the area for under £300k, with even ex-council properties in the trendy suburb going for £400k or more.
"It's possibly the smallest house in the world," said the agent. "It's just been developed and put on the market. I think it will probably sell to an investor who'll let it as a short-let on Airbnb. It's a great crash pad for the area. It's got everything a house would have and the space is cleverly used. There's storage under the raised part of the living area, a patio out the front and a window. I've been to the property and it's a really sweet house – it works."
House prices in Islington rocketed by more than 20% in the 12 months to July, to an average of £645,272, according to the Land Registry. A more standard-sized one bedroom flat on the same road sold for £665k in November 2013, while according to Zoopla the average value of a property on Richmond Avenue is £1.8m.
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