GUEST ARTICLE: The reasons behind Britain’s extensions

  • 17 Sep 2018

A new study from MoneySuperMarket that looks into the motivations behind home extensions and why they are often preferred over moving shows current financial pressures meant 42% of Brits would rather extend than move, as it is simply better value for money.

Just 24% of Brits said moving was a better financial decision. The recent increase in the Bank of England base rate from 0.5 per cent to 0.75 per cent will lead to more expensive mortgages for many, making it even more likely that homeowners will prefer to improve their current residence rather than relocate.

Those looking to create more space prefer to opt for simple builds such as single-storey or rear extensions (48%), followed by double or multi-storey extensions (34%) and conservatories (29%). Conversions are also popular options, with loft conversions coming out top at 28%, followed by garage conversions (26%) and basement conversions (13%).

The research shows that Brits decide to extend for many reasons:

  • Home office or business space – 31%
  • Creative space (e.g. music, art or writing) – 27%
  • Dinner parties and entertaining – 24%
  • Fitness, gym or yoga space – 22%
  • Annex for elderly relatives – 17%
  • Walk-in wardrobe – 15%
  • Lease the extra space for additional income – 13%
  • Separate room to watch TV away from their partner – 12%   

The biggest barrier to moving according to homeowners is the lack of suitable properties on the market (39%), which is then followed, perhaps unsurprisingly, by the unaffordability of housing (38%). However, higher than expected property prices are not isolated to London, as nearly half (45%) of Yorkshire respondents also felt this way, followed by 44% of South West homeowners.

Moving home is likely to be a bigger financial commitment than extending your current property, so it makes sense that nearly three in 10 (28 per cent) worry about the risk of interest rate rises and are hesitant to set up a new mortgage as a result.

Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, commented: “Choosing whether to stick or twist when you outgrow your property is a major life-stage decision, particularly if you want to work from home or provide accommodation for elderly relatives.

“What’s crucial is that people weigh up their options to ensure they get the best value for the money they spend.

“Those having work done to their home certainly have to consider the impact on their home insurance.

“You need to tell your insurer as soon as work begins, so they can determine whether the project will affect your premiums – if they think there’s an increased risk of damage from the building work or a danger that burglars might exploit the situation, your premiums would increase. If you increase your square footage, that will also bump up what you pay.

“If you have a new space in the home, you’re likely to put possessions in it, which could change the amount of contents cover you need. And if you start working from home, you’ll need extra protection from your home insurance.

“If you fail to tell your insurer you’re having work done and detail the changes that it will bring, either because you don’t think it necessary or you don’t want to pay more for cover, you risk not having a claim paid if something goes wrong. So, it’s always better to keep your insurer up to speed with what you’re doing.”

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