Two In Five Brits Prefer Building Extensions To Moving House

New research from TSB has found that, following new changes to planning regulations, 41% of home owners would rather build an extension than move house.

On 25 May 2019, the government relaxed planning rules in an effort to speed up the construction of new house building in Britain. Permitted development (PD) rights have been extended to make permanent existing temporary rights allowing the extension of residential properties.

The government has also confirmed the intention to press ahead with plans to introduce a PD right to extend upwards certain existing buildings in residential use to deliver additional homes. However, this plan received a mixed response during the consultation exercise.

More than 50% of those who responded confirmed that they did not support the use of PD rights for upward extensions, citing concerns over the quality of housing produced and the impact on existing and neighbouring properties.

Existing temporary PD rights, introduced in 2013, allowed householders to benefit from an extension to their home without the need for a planning application. Provided that the extension was completed by 30 May 2019. The new regulations remove reference to this completion date, thereby making the right permanent.

Prior to 2013, home owners had to submit planning applications, including a fee, to their local councils for the right to build an extension. The system often meant long waiting times for applicants before planning permission was granted. The new rules which came into force enabled householders to extend their properties free from bureaucracy and upfront costs.

The latest change to the planning rules allows home owners to build larger single-storey rear extensions of up to six square metres (increased from three sq.m) for terraced and semi-detached houses, and up to eight sq.m (increased from four sq.m) for detached properties.

The value of an extension

Adding an extension can increase a property’s value significantly; a three-bedroom house is likely to be worth substantially more than one with only two bedrooms. But there are other reasons why some home owners prefer to extend.

The TSB study reveals that while 50% of home owners would like more space, 49% say that moving house is too expensive, and 25% want to continue living in their chosen location. The new laws will enable families to create more space by extending and save on costly stamp duty fees.

Commenting on the study, Nick Smith, TSB’s Head of Mortgages, has said it comes as no surprise that home owners refer to the cost of moving house as one of the greatest deterrents to affording a new home or climbing the property ladder.

Smith added that building an extension is an excellent way to add extra space without incurring the additional costs of stamp duty and legal fees.

Negative opinions

However, the TSB research found that a surprisingly large majority of home owners had concerns over the consequences of changes to the planning laws. 79% believed that extensions could adversely affect views and 80% were of the opinion that the new laws would lead to disputes among communities.

The research concluded that 19% of home owners are more likely to build an extension in the next three years. If the new rules remain in force, the result could be a substantial change in the housing market, as many more householders opt to stay and extend rather than move.

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