Research has indicated that Granny Annexes are filling an important gap in the UK housing market. “Last Home” buyers are unable to find a suitable place to buy. In particular if they are seeking single storey accommodation.
Single storey dwellings and are well suited to home owners who require accessibility, but for whom a continued life of independence is essential. A large proportion of UK house buyers are seeking a “last home” that meets all their requirements.
What is a Granny Annexe?
An Annexe is an ancillary dwelling to a main property. To gain planning permission, typically an annexe has 1 (occasionally 2) bedrooms, and demonstrates strong ties to the main house. Often an annexe can only be used by members of the same family, but is a standalone building, often taking the appearance of a cottage or a bungalow. Granny Annexe usually supply these buildings to downsizers looking to live with one of their children, although, they also appeal to other demographics.
Why is an annexe a good choice for downsizers looking for a bungalow?
Unable to find suitable accommodation that meets their need, for some downsizers commissioning a Granny Annexe becomes an appealing choice. Granny Annexes can be single storey buildings with ramps, disabled access and other modern features to benefit customers, but often the key priority is finding a home that meets their requirements, whilst staying in close proximity to family.
Finding the correct home for downsizers is becoming increasingly challenging, due to the climate of the current housing market.
Not enough bungalows to meet demand
Bungalows are still a popular choice for homebuyers. Last year an Alliance and Leicester report in that a showed that a third of the population would like to own a bungalow, leading to headlines such as “Bungalows are back in fashion”.1
But bungalows were already in short supply. In 2013 Nationwide produced a special report entitled “How is the housing stock changing” which highlights that just 9.7% of properties are bungalows.2
Adding to this new build supply in not there to meet this demand. The 2014 report from NHBC demonstrated that just 1% of new homes were bungalows. 3
With 52% of current homebuyers downsizing, 4 and looking for smaller property that better suits their current circumstances. The current shortage of bungalows means many are not finding the type of property they seek for their “Last Home”.
Housing Minister shows his understanding that bungalows have an important role in the housing mix.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis in an interview with The Telegraph, showed his understanding of the challenges faxing people downsizing. He also sees bungalows as an optimum choice for downsizers’ next property:
“I think they [Bungalows] are a really, really, important part of the mix – my in-laws are in their 70s, pretty fit, mentally really with it, they live in a normal house which they both struggle with. They are not ready to move into what they would see as a retirement home, but where they live there is not access to bungalows.”5
Granny Annexes are filling a gap in the housing market
As explored in the recent Lloyds Banking Group report, there are a vast range of reasons for downsizing, these are predominantly financial, for example, to support their retirement plans. We find Granny Annexes are particularly beneficial to those 25% who are downsizing sooner than expected, for reasons including, health, change in relationship status and proximity to amenities.4
For some, single storey buildings with disabled access, is compulsory, and many of these home buyers can not compromise. For others the aspiration of buying nearer to family is being restricted by the north south housing price. 6
Whichever one of the many challenges of the UK property ladder you are facing, it is clear to see that Granny Annexes are offering an important part of the housing mix for downsizers.
References and further reading
1. Bungalows are back in fashion
06 Sep 2014
2. How is the housing stock changing
3. NHBC Annual New Home Statistics Review 2014
4. Downsizing windfall rises to over £100,000 in 2014
5. England needs more bungalows, says new planning minister
17 Aug 2014
6. North-South house price divide deepens, warns Hometrack
26 June 2015