The number of planning applications made by homeowners for extensions has risen by 5.4 per cent, according to figures released to the AJ
Research by commercial law firm EMW show an increasing number of homeowners are choosing to stay put and develop their current property because of the uncertain economy making moving to a bigger property risky.
Planning applications for home extensions have rocketed from 191,000 to 201,000 over the last 12 months until June 2011 making it the first rise in four years.
EMW’s findings suggest reluctant homeowners worried about rising costs of house prices and increased difficulty in securing mortgages are responsible for the trend. These people are opting for home improvements and extensions over selling and buying, they claim.
Giles Ferin, head of planning at EMW said: ‘These figures show a reversal in homeowners’ attitude towards extending their properties. For the first time in four years, home extensions are becoming popular again.
‘Before the recession it was easier to move to a larger house if you wanted more space. But with the economic uncertainty, people are reluctant to make such an important decision. Building an extension seems to be a less risky middle path. Building an extension can add value to a property, so any investment made may be recouped in years to come.’
According to EMW the recent surge in planning applications are due to falling values in the housing market with many losing equity in their property which makes it financially impractical to move. In addition to this, the high fees and taxes involved in moving house has deterred buyers from the entering market.
Giles Ferin says: ‘With wages having declined in real terms, the cost of living having increased and ongoing uncertainty over job security, people can’t or aren’t keen to take on new mortgages.’
Adding: ‘The slow economy and fears over future adverse effects from the public sector cuts have eroded confidence, so many people would rather pay off their mortgages than take on an new, bigger one.’
- The above image shows the Cox House extension project by John Glew Architect completed in 2010