It has been claimed that the stamp duty holiday has created such high demand in the London property market and pushed house prices so high that many homeowners are choosing to renovate and extend their existing homes as an alternative to moving.
According to Ordnance Survey (OS), the UK’s primary mapping agency, this is contributing to a significant reduction in the amount of garden space throughout the capital.
OS reports that overall garden space in London has reduced by 5% in the decade leading up to 2021 with extensions being cited as the primary contributor to the loss.
While there were 382.41 square kilometres of garden space in London in 2011, today there are just 367.46 square kilometres.
Without the stamp duty holiday, many Londoners found that the stamp duty bill on buying a new home was itself more expensive than building an extension on their current home. And since the stamp duty holiday has been introduced, potential buyers are being thwarted by increasing competition and surging prices. Many have, therefore, chosen to extend their current homes as a substitute to moving.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Danny Hyam, a member of Ordnance Survey’s technical services team, said:
“In most parts of the country, urban areas are expanding outwards at the edges. In London, there isn’t space for new gardens – it’s all big blocks of flats because that’s what we’ve got the space for.
“London is an expensive place to move and so people are basically extending their properties rather than buying. At the backs of gardens with alleyways behind them, we’re seeing big garages and big sheds being built.”
A profit/loss calculation
While homeowners are free to amend their homes as they wish, assuming planning permission is granted, by eating up garden space, they are reducing the number of homes that come with generous outdoor space at a time when many buyers are desperate for more of it. As such, the value of homes with gardens could surge even further than it already has. The same will apply to homes with easy access to parks.
If owners are thinking ahead, they should consider how much value their garden adds to their home compared to that which will be added or removed if some of that space is taken up by an extension.