Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the luxury garden-building market has thrived.

And it’s no surprise either. With data in May showing that 39% of the UK work at least one day a week at home, hybrid and remote working have led to homeowners re-evaluating their homes and how they can make the most out of them.

And that has led many to invest in garden buildings.

While garden offices have seen a steep increase in popularity, orders for garden gyms, studios, and summerhouses have also grown, according to Crane Garden Buildings, the UK leader in the production of high-quality timber garden buildings.

Following the announcement of the initial COVID-19 lockdown, Crane Garden Buildings saw a 75% increase in sales of garden offices. When taking into account the range of different luxury garden buildings – including offices, studios, and summerhouses – revenue increased by 143.73% in 2021 when compared to 2019.

And while the business’ own data shows that while there has been a decrease since that spike, sales on these products are still ahead of pre-COVID-19 sales, with revenue up 72.89% compared to pre-COVID levels.

What’s clear is that consumers are not being put off by the price point – with some of these buildings starting at a minimum price of £10,000. Instead, they’re seeing it as a long-term investment.

But a property expert has now weighed in to suggest that investing in garden buildings could add up to 10% to the value of a home, given the increase of living space available without having to remove valuable areas inside the house (like giving up a bedroom to create 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 floor plan.

Tabitha continues: “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 which can occur when a home is priced way above the average selling price in the neighbourhood as a result of additional features that have been added.”

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.”

The garden building features are most desirable with home buyers

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

A garden building or extension? Which investment will add more value to a property?

1. Garden buildings often cost much less than extensions

Russell Atkinson, CEO of Crane Garden Buildings, said: “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.

2. Garden Buildings do not usually require planning permission

Tabitha Cumming said: “Extensions often require applying for planning permission, which can be a lengthy process and it is not guaranteed that this will be granted.

“Garden buildings usually do not require such permissions, but will need to stick to any permitted development guidelines in place.

“Garden buildings cost much less than extensions, are easier to install, and cause a lot less disruption to the homeowner during this process.

“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.”

3. Garden buildings are easier to install and cause a lot less disruption to the homeowner during the process

It’s far less intrusive for you to install a garden building than putting an extension on your house. Russel Atkinson describes getting an extension as often being “hell on Earth for three months” when knocking dust, and you just don’t get that with garden buildings.

He added: “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. Speaking in relation to time and value for money, garden buildings are delivering more bang for their buck.”

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