Britons Increasingly Choosing to Extend Their Homes Rather than Move

The mortgage lender Halifax found that increasing numbers of UK citizens are now opting to extend their properties rather than move house. In fact, there has been a 183% increase in planning applications for basement extensions in the past few years. The main reason for this seems to be the huge rise in house prices, which has prevented many homeowners from climbing the property ladder. Instead, they’ve had to find more feasible ways to expand their living space.

Halifax also found that the number of loft conversions had risen dramatically. However, basements still demonstrated the fastest growth, with neighbourly spats commonly being mentioned among the most common side-effects of the building trend.  Noise and dust were also mentioned as negative effects of the UK’s quest for more living space.

People are now doing whatever they can to improve their properties rather than having to fund the various stages of the moving process. According to Henry Pryor, a London-based property agent, factors such as stamp duty, estate agent fees, conveyancing and inevitable improvements to a new home all go towards making home extensions a more viable objective. He noted that there was a trend to be spotted here – all of the new rooms created did not require much natural light. The kids bedrooms tended to move up to the attic, while playrooms, utility rooms and ‘man caves’ tended to move down to the basement.


Pryor analysed planning data for England, Scotland and Wales over the period January 2012 to December 2016. Interestingly, he found that basements had soared in popularity, especially in London. The number of planning applications for basement conversions totalled 3064 in 2016, compared to 1084 in 2012. The bank also affirmed this point, stating that the top 16 local authorities for basement planning applications were all London boroughs.

It seems that those who wish to trade up to a bigger property size feel that they have no choice other than to stay in the house that they’re currently living in. Many of the people who are digging down and building upwards are choosing to do so because house prices have risen a lot faster than the average income. The average price for a property in London is set at a hefty  £584,000, whereas the figure for the rest of the UK is £219,000. As well as this problem, the clampdown on mortgage lending following the credit crunch has served to restrict borrowing.

Pryor commented that the basement and loft extension boom was “depressing news for estate agents”. When asked about what the future may hold, he added that “I expect to see this trend continue. If you can get the necessary consents to expand your property, then the increased value you add to it should make the decision easier”.

Many homeowners were already struggling to trade up in the years before the credit crunch, but the events of 2007-2008 served to exacerbate this decline, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).  Prior to the recession, home sales in the UK totalled around 1.6 million per year, which then plummeted to 860,000 in 2009 but has since recovered to around 1.2m. In a report published in June, the CML argued that this shortfall was largely the result of “missing movers” or in other words, mortgaged homeowners not moving up the housing ladder.

If you’re undertaking a loft or basement conversion, then Digger Hire Wirral company can provide you with all of the necessary equipment to complete your job, including mini digger and dumper hire.