It's official: families are changing shape. The UK family tree is becoming taller and thinner, as people live and keep their health for longer and the younger generations are having children later and later in life.
While the traditional family home, designed for mum, dad and numerous children, may never go out of fashion, increasingly people are finding that it does not serve their needs as well as other types of property.
Barratt Maidenhead sales director Jill Armstrong says: "There has been a real shift in consumer attitudes over the last few years, which has resulted in purchasers actually choosing to live in apartments, rather than more traditional homes.
"This is mainly because of the location, but factors such as energy efficiency and the low maintenance they require in terms of the garden and building itself, also make apartments an extremely popular choice."
Barratt's new development in Wantage reflects this. The Letcombe Park development has a range of apartments, with prices starting at £178,000. However, there are only two left, so buyers will have to be quick. Both remaining apartments have two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a private balcony each. To find out more about the properties available, or to register an interest, call the sales office on 01235 770119.
Barratt has another development in Abingdon at St Nicolas Mews. This includes a selection of one and two-bedroom apartments, including the two-bedroom Eastleigh, priced at £143,000, and the two-bedroom Drayton, priced at £168,000.
The Manor Park development in Headington, built on the former Oxford United football ground, reflects the fact that many apartment-buyers refuse to compromise on location or quality. Manor Park, a Bellway Homes development, is just a short cycle or drive from the centre of Oxford, but comprises a wide choice of apartments. Prices start at £222,000 for a two-bedroom apartment and reach £475,000 for a third-floor penthouse with three bedrooms and a study. An audio/video entry system is provided for all apartments for extra security.
All kitchens will have a stainless steel integrated hob, double oven and cooker hood. All apartments will have electric under-floor heating and a mains pressure hot water system. A number of properties feature balconies. The apartments are for sale jointly through Knight Frank on 01865 790077 and the new homes department of FPDSavills, on 01865 269042.
In nearby North Oxford, Rectory Homes has recently launched a new apartment development. The Millford House site is on the apex of Davenant Road and Banbury Road, and comprises six apartments. Prices will start at £325,000. The development is in its early stages, and the apartments are not expected to be ready until autumn. However, it will be possible to buy off-plan, so there is no need to wait. For more information, visit www.rectoryhomes.co.uk or call 01844 295100.
Further north, there are two apartments available at Westbury Homes' Tadmarton Park development, just outside Banbury. Both apartments are priced at £154,995, although the designs vary slightly. One property has a kitchen/breakfast room with separate lounge, while the other has a lounge/dining room with separate kitchen. Both also have two bedrooms, one of which has an en-suite bathroom. For information on these apartments, visit www.westbury-homes.co.uk or call 01452 783000.
Apartment living appeals to a wide range of people - young professionals, the retired and even families. The one thing they all have in common is that they want a living space to adapt to them, not the other way around. The "one size fits all" approach to housing just does not suit everyone any more.