During the pandemic, we saw a ‘working from home’ boom with most office wokers, students and school children working over zoom and online. Remote working became the norm and to facilitiate this, homeowners did one of two things.
A large proportion of people sold their property in exchange for a home with more inside and outside space. This resulted in a steep rise in property values across the UK and record high house prices. Demand couldn’t keep up with supply and this, coupled with cheap borrowing, further pushed up prices.
Another solution was to extend their existing home and create extra space for home working or studying. Garden rooms and home extensions have been hugely popular as they were seen as much more cost-effective way of creating more space without having to go through the stress and expense of moving.
But will the recent announcement that workers should go back to the office have an impact on the value of these home as space for home working becomes less important?
Data from Google has shown that the search term ‘house extension’ reached an all-time-high back in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. People were looking for ways to make their ‘new normal’ work for them. This included creating dedicated workspaces and home offices along with areas in which to destress and exercise given that gyms were also closed to the public. Extra space and flexibility became crucial for families up and down the country.
It’s worth noting that data suggests the rise in desire for home extensions was not solely down to the pandemic.
House extensions have been steadily rising year-on-year even before the pandemic as people realised the cost effectiveness of extending rather than moving. Home improvements are cheaper than moving home and adds to the value of the property over the long-term.
Research carried out by Santander UK revealed that UK homeowners applied for more than 60,000 extensions and conversions to improve their homes during the 3 months after lockdown in March 2020. The lockdown promoted 40% of homeowners to bring forward their home improvement plans.
According to Uswitch, the size and quality of an extension will dictate how much money it will add to the value of your home. Nationwide has previously revealed that home improvements by way of an extension can add 23% to the value of a property.
The cost of extensions is rising so it’s important to do your research before carrying out an extension project including:
How much available space do you have?
How much of your garden will you lose?
Do you require planning permission, or does it fall under permitted development rights?
Will you still have side access?
Do you need one storey or two?
The government recently dropped its guidance on working from home to encourage people to get back to the office. However, this could continue as workers look for ways to save money on transport costs and overheads.
Therefore, it is likely that a home office will still be very attractive to many buyers now and in the future. It is unlikely we will ever get back to how things were pre-pandemic, especially with rising petrol prices.
A dedicated home office is likely to remain a priority for many buyers, even if people work from home some of the time. What’s more, people want more space and can see that an extension can have many uses including an additional bedroom.