Posted on 20th December 2013

To Move or to Make the Most of Where You Live

Martin Williamson, Head of Residential PropertyWhile house prices are now on a slow upward trajectory as the economy steadily improves, and the market is boosted by Help to Buy and similar schemes, many people are still choosing to stay put. There is much to be said for improving and adding value to an existing home rather than starting again with a new property at a time when the market is still uncertain. According to figures from the Nationwide Building Society, adding an extension or a loft conversion to a home could increase its value by almost a quarter.

Nationwide's House Price Index Special Report looked at the value of improvements made to an average three bedroom house. It found that creating an extra bathroom could add six per cent to the value and adding another double bedroom can push up the value by 12pc. It also found that building an extension or loft conversion to create a double bedroom and en-suite bathroom could add 23pc to the value and increasing floor space by 10pc can add five per cent to the average value.

The research also says that the price for building an extension can cost, on average, around £1,000 per square meter or £23,000 for a single storey and £76,000 for a double storey. A second bathroom is also desirable for home owners and the research shows that creating an additional bathroom can add six per cent to the value of the average property. Home owners who add a loft conversion or extension incorporating a double bedroom and a bathroom can add about 23pc to the value of an existing three bedroom, one bathroom house.

The governments announcement on the relaxation of planning for conservatories and single storey extensions has been welcome news for home owners who are attracted to the idea of improving their property by adding both space and value rather than face the extra costs and expense of moving to somewhere bigger.

While conservatories, loft conversions or extensions, additional bathrooms or bedrooms are the most usual home improvements, many peoples choices extend to the more adventurous. The number of home owners applying to add sunrooms, huge kitchens, wine cellars and family rooms to their properties has more than doubled to 21 per cent in a year. This trend is, of course, in part aspirational, however many home owners are also increasingly aware of the value added benefits of improving or extending their property. For many, this can demonstrate something of a labour of love; however for many more, the main reason for improving their existing home boils down to the simple economics of boosting the eventual sale price of their property.