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Home sweet live/work home

Demand is growing for property for homeworkers

In the past week I have visited two live/work developments; one in city centre Birmingham and the other in leafy Lancashire. Both offer homes that have been designed to accommodate living and working under a single roof and both developers are cheering at the level of market demand.

A dazzling property

In the heart of Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, young and ambitious developer Hannah Martyr has transformed a building that was formerly workshops, occupied by famous silverware manufacturer William H Hasler, into six contemporary live/work apartments. Purchasers so far include a Human Rights lawyer, a civil engineer and a graphic designer, highlighting the eclectic mix of occupations that can be operated from a home base.

At Brockhall Village in Lancashire, Gerald Hitman is on a mission to improve the way families live and work as he embarks on a second phase expansion that will see 26 new live/work homes developed. If planning permission goes his way, Gerald has plans to build similar homes right across the UK.

Developers like Hannah and Gerald are leading the way in a sector that has not yet been recognised by conventional housebuilders. In Hannah's view "homeworkers have been over-looked and under estimated by the property industry." Homes are built with smaller second bedrooms that are often not large enough for office use and with insufficient storage space.

The home office

Certainly, there are millions of people who have improvised and renovated.

I speak from personal experience as someone who has just spent six months transforming what was a new-build county town house, into a living and working home office. The kitchen is our staff room, the dining room houses a board table and my office 'wardrobe' is stacked with client papers and files. I had little choice but to work around developers who had not taken into account that someone might be working from this home.

This situation cannot continue at a time when up to 8 million people are thought to be part time or full time homeworkers.

Quote�Live/work properties are certainly becoming more mainstream�End Quote

Live/work properties are certainly becoming more mainstream. On the home page of the Live Work Network, a membership organisation for developers with an interest in providing dual use property, there is news of accommodation coming on line in Newcastle, Basingstoke, Dorset and Oswestry.

So, with an increasing number of developers looking at this opportunity, watch out for a live/work home coming to a location near you!

What next?

Are you setting up a home office? Want a cheaper way to make calls and connect to the internet? Join BT Business Broadband Voice and get up to two virtual phone lines with inclusive calls to other subscribers and a great call plan.

Did you know that working from home can boost productivity in your business? Emma Jones explains how to work smarter and live better.

Find out how working for yourself can also help stamp out the gender pay difference

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