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Completely London

London property market blog

Property: inside and out

/ by Nigel Lewis

Is there any value in extending your home?

As soon as the recession hit back in 2008 one of the most predictable trends in the UK property market followed; people stopped moving home.

The figures at the time were a housing earthquake and the number of homes sold each month crumbled under the economic bad news from 160,000 a month in the summer of 2007 to 40,000 by December 2008.

But every property cloud can have a silver lining. As the horror financial headlines continued throughout the late noughties many people, instead of moving, turned to improving. And particularly in London these properties are now reaping the benefits of the recent house price surges across the UK because, by adding space, their homes are now worth considerably more.

Consumer champion organisation Which? recently conducted research on this subject in a bid to find out just how much money you can make from adding a room.

At the top of the value list is the addition of a reception room, which will increase a property’s value by 12% but costs £36,000 on average to complete. And the second most valuable addition is a bedroom at 10% and £27,000 to build.

Creating an open-plan kitchen/diner, putting in a new kitchen, replacing your home’s flooring and adding more car parking, can also add up to 5% each. One surprise within the research, given most family’s battle for the shower in the morning, is that adding a bathroom to your home only raises your home’s value by 2%.

Not everyone agrees with this take on value creation. “I would say that if you’re thinking of adding a room just to increase your property’s value then, instead, spend the money giving your home an overall upgrade,” says Jennifer Young Thompson, Sales Manager at KFH’s Southfields branch. “A really stunning home will probably sell more quickly and for more money compared to a shabby one with an extra room.”

Tim Beattie, Sales Manager at KFH’s Battersea branch, rejects the whole ‘room’ approach. “Remember that the market in London has become more sophisticated recently and people are looking more at what a property’s per square foot value is rather than the number of rooms”.

“London is full of buyers who are usually professionals working in jobs that require them to take a much more rational and careful view of how much something is worth, rather than simply how many bedrooms a property has,” he adds.

Tim says London is simply a more commercial environment than other parts of the UK and that, particularly because property investment is more common, the adoption of ‘per square foot’ values is increasing.

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Expert Nigel Lewis
Nigel Lewis Freelance property writer and editor
Nigel Lewis is a property writer and editor who has worked on a variety of titles including the Daily Mail and also edited Channel 4's A Place in the Sun and Location, Location, Location magazines. For the past five years he has been Head of Content at websites and and is also seen regularly on TV including more recently an appearance on BBC1 TV's The One Show.

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