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Why small is better
Publish Date: Jan 05, 2014
Why small is better
Costs for building materials are high hence the increase in the cost per square metre of built-up space
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By Vision Reporter

Housing is a need that ranks highly on the personal achievements’ scale for most people. There are cultures that to date, measure one’s success by the size of their houses. To some, the house size is a symbol of stature and power in their societies.

The size of a house can be looked at from so many angles or aspects. It is usually looked at in terms of area the house covers both on the ground and vertically. However, the size can also be looked at from an economic point of view.

Abdu-Wahab Nyanzi, an architect with JR Consultants, says in a country like Uganda, decent housing is still a challenge.

“For the urban dwellers, a house is only one if it is made of brick and mortar. A number of property dealers have opened up suburbs for residential development an opportunity, which many have taken with both hands,” he says. Nyanzi adds that the challenge for many people is what size of house to put up.

Today’s developers are opting for smaller houses due to a number of factors. “Small houses come at a lower budget and can be completed in a relatively short time,” he says. Small houses feel cozy and offer more intimate feeling to the owner.

The space is not a lot and so the occupants feel well in control of the space and are aware of all happening around them.


According to Nyanzi, costs for building materials are high, hence the increase in the cost per square metre of built up space. This has contributed highly to clients opting for smaller houses.

Small plots

Majority of the plots on the market today are small. The common size is 100ftx50ft. This dimension can only afford the architect so little in terms of building footprint.

Nyanzi says clients have to either build high rise of stick to small bungalows. Larger plots are costly so average developers cannot afford them.

Family size

Today, families are smaller than those that existed earlier. This has resulted in a reduction in the amount of usable space required for living.  In  addition, the tradition of sleep-over visitors is dying out. This applies to the trend of building garages despite the increase in car burglary.


Mortgages now come at a high cost than before. This means people do not have the luxury of accessing large sums of money for constructing big houses. With less capital, the houses have also become smaller.

Social pressure

Pressures relating to unpredictable increase in rent and the risk of losing a job before one has a rent-free place to stay, are some of the issues influencing small houses.

Matters relating to the culture or traditions of owning a house of your own have also resulted in people building small houses that they can quickly finish and occupy.


.Small houses are easy, quicker and cheaper to construct.

.Low maintenance costs.

.Easy to market in case one wants to rent it out.

.In case of an estate, it enables you accommodate more families on a given piece of land.


.Usually stuffy due to fewer or smaller accommodation options.

.Smaller returns in case of sale, compensation, rent or loan applications.

.Less prestigious as far as social status is concerned.

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