Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the luxury garden building market has experienced unprecedented growth.
It comes as no surprise considering that 39% of UK workers now spend at least one day a week working from home. The debate around four-day working weeks is also heightening.
With the rise of hybrid and remote working, homeowners have begun reevaluating their living spaces and exploring ways to optimise them. Consequently, many have turned to garden buildings as an attractive investment option.
While garden offices have seen a steep increase in popularity - our own data shows that following the announcement of the initial COVID-19 lockdown, we saw a 75% increase in sales on garden offices - orders for garden gyms, studios, and summerhouses have also grown.
Consumers are not being put off by the price point - with some of these buildings starting at a minimum price of £10,000 - but instead seeing it as a long-term investment.
A property expert has even chimed in, suggesting that investing in a garden building could potentially add up to 10% to the value of a home. This increase in value stems from the additional living space offered without having to sacrifice existing valuable areas inside the house. For instance, you no longer need to convert a bedroom into a home office.
Tabitha Cumming, a property expert from The Lease Extension Company, also said that the figure could grow further for houses located in rural areas. When analysing which types of garden buildings make the most impact on a home’s valuation, she said: “There is an increased demand for home office spaces within properties due to many people continuing to work from home.
“Having a garden building will add more value to a property for these individuals, as it provides them with a dedicated space to work that can help them to have a separation between their work and home lives.
“Similarly, small business owners may use a garden building to run their business from home and save on renting an office space, making a property much more valuable.
“The building may not necessarily add money to the value of the home straight away, but it will make it much more desirable if selling the home, provided that it is part of the floorplan.
“It is also important to remember to not 'overbuild' your home, which means that any major additions should fit in with other properties in the area. For example, if you have built a large garden room that is worth £40,000, it will only add so much value to your home before the figure reaches a number that buyers are not willing to pay.”
Russell Atkinson, CEO at Crane Garden Buildings, added: “If it's a building that has a function, it can add value to your house, without a doubt. It's an extra room, it's an extra function, which is all the more appealing in today’s property market. However, as Tabitha highlights, there is a ceiling with house prices and it is important to consider this when considering whether you’re purchasing a garden building to add value to your property.”
What type of Garden Building adds the most value?
Due to the increasing number of people working from home, there is a growing demand for home office spaces within properties.
As we have alluded to, Tabitha Cumming says garden offices are estimated to increase home value by up to 15%, particularly if they are equipped with desirable features such as insulation, electricity, and WiFi.
For small business owners, a garden building can serve as a cost-effective alternative to renting an office space, making the property even more valuable.
What features do buyers look for?
When assessing the value of a property with a garden building, there are several desirable features and amenities that buyers may be looking for:
- The building is constructed with high-quality materials and is properly insulated so that it can be used throughout the year
- The design of the building is aesthetically pleasing and complements the style of the property and surroundings
- The building has a good internet connection (if it is used as an office)
- The building is connected to utilities such as plumbing or electricity
- Having large glass windows or doors can also be desirable as they allow large amounts of natural light into the building
- Having a more bespoke, luxury garden building with the above features will make your property worth more than a simple structure like a summerhouse
Why invest in a garden building rather than an extension?
There are several advantages to opting for a garden building instead of an extension:
Garden buildings often cost much less than extensions
Russell Atkinson argues that in most instances “the same amount of space that you would get from a garden building will cost you more in an extension. If it’s just knocking down a wall you won’t be getting extra space from that. The actual extension has a lot of groundwork, so you’ve got to dig foundations.
“You'd get the same space in one of our bigger garden buildings versus building it onto your house. I would estimate in most cases obviously you can't say for every case, but in most cases that it would be a lot less expensive.”
Both developments will increase home value due to the extra floor space they provide, but their overall value is dependent on what is right for the property and the requirements of potential buyers such as the following.
Garden Buildings do not usually require planning permission (in most cases)
Extensions often require applying for planning permission, which can be a lengthy process and it is not guaranteed that this will be granted. For house extensions in London, this usually takes around 8 weeks, according to Tabitha Cumming.
This can be even longer for large or complex developments and double the amount of time for applications that are subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment.
Garden buildings usually do not require such permissions because of the nature of the type of project it is but will need to stick to any permitted development guidelines in place.
The question on planning permission and garden buildings is one that our team receives the most and more details about that can be found in this planning permission blog.
Garden buildings are easier to install and cause a lot less disruption to the homeowner during the process
As we covered earlier, it's far less intrusive for you to install a garden building than to put an extension on your house.
Russel Atkinson describes getting an extension as often being “Hell on Earth” - his words, not ours - for three months.
It’s an issue you just don't get that with garden buildings.
“We come in and our biggest building and our most complex building take a maximum of a week to put in place. So, there's a big difference there. And I think in terms of bang for your buck, buying a garden building is a lot better.”
So, is a Garden Building the right option for you?
While garden buildings may not always be the answer, they present a viable option for homeowners looking to add extra rooms to their property.
If you're seeking to expand existing space, such as making the kitchen larger, an extension may be more suitable. However, when it comes to adding an additional room, garden buildings offer numerous benefits and should be given equal, if not greater, consideration compared to extensions.
Garden buildings are particularly suitable for homeowners who cannot wait for or have been denied planning permission, as well as those on tighter budgets. The lengthy planning permission process and the time-consuming and messy nature of extension work can often be unnecessary for the space required.
In conclusion, garden buildings are a valuable investment for homeowners aiming to maximise their property's potential. They provide additional living and working spaces while maintaining the separation between work and home life.
Consider the specific needs of your property and potential buyers, and explore the many benefits that garden buildings can bring to your home.
The stylish Holt garden office has two walls of glazing so you can enjoy unhindered views of your garden while you work.
A pent studio with fully glazed doors and windows, the Salthouse will allow you to work from home in style.
With full insulation, lining, and the option for electrics, the modern-style Classic Office would be ideal as a spacious 1 person office.