Debate Magazine

What's So Special About Any of This?

Posted on the 15 May 2014 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

From the BBC:
A new housing unit developed by the YMCA may offer one solution to the lack of affordable housing in London and other UK cities.
The Y:Cube is a 280-sq-ft (26-sq-m) studio-like apartment made for single occupancy. It can stand alone, or be stacked into bigger housing blocks.
The units are constructed in a factory and arrive on site ready-made, with water, heating and electricity incorporated into the unit and ready to be connected to local facilities.
The YMCA plans to open its first Y:Cube Housing scheme with 36 of the units in the London borough of Merton by the end of 2014.
A unit costs £30,000 to build, and the one-bedroom homes will be let for £140 per week - around 65% of the usual market rent.

It's quite nice inside, but it's not really different to any other flat.
It's a bit smaller, it costs a bit less to build, and the rent is a bit less.
What is important to note is that the rent which they will be charging has nothing to do with the cost of the unit - two-thirds of that £7,000 a year rent is pure location rent, just like anywhere else in Merton.
They say a Y:Cube will last for 60 years (from project summary here), let's assume half that and amortise it over thirty years and add on £1,000 a year for normal maintenance and insurance, that leaves £5,000 out of £7,000 going on location rent.

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