Loft Conversion Reading Nooks

London is currently in the grip of a home improvement frenzy and loft conversions are leading the trend.

In 2015, London Boroughs saw a 13 per cent surge in planning applications for major home improvements. This upsurge in applications matches the drop in the number of homes changing hands in the capital over the same period.

In some boroughs planning applications for loft conversions, side return and rear extensions or basements has gone up almost 40 per cent. The largest rise comes from Haringey in North London, with a 38 per cent leap in 2015. Following close behind is the Royal borough of Greenwich with a rise of 34.4 per cent. However, growth is not across the board. Kensington and Chelsea have seen a 12.6 per cent decline in applications. This is thought to be due to less demand by wealthy foreign buyers needing the extra space, as they only live there part time, or not wishing to deal with the inconvenience a major renovation will occur.

These figures are only the tip of the iceberg. Not all loft conversions or extensions need planning permission, it depends on how much you are adding to the house and where your home is located. For example, if you’re in a conservation area then planning permission will be needed.

Cost of moving

So why are so many Londoners improving and not moving? There are a variety of reasons with one of them being the cost of moving. The average price tag of a London property is now £530,368 (Land Registry House Price Index, February 2016), and the barrier at which the 4 per cent stamp duty kicks in is £500,000. This means a typical family house will generate a stamp duty bill of at least £20,000 and that does not include estate agents and solicitor’s fees.

Michael Holmes, editor-in-chief of Homebuilding and Renovating magazine, told the Evening Standard that “The cost of moving to the next tier up now often pays for an extension.”

“Rather than spend all that dead money, people are thinking they will create the best possible home for themselves and won’t have to go through all the upheaval of moving, such as taking the kids out of school.”

Another reason for Londoners not moving is that the rungs of the property ladder have been getting further apart. Many London families find they cannot afford to buy a bigger house in their preferred area and must look further afield. Some families are opting to stay put and improve their house rather than have longer commutes.

Improve not move

Improve not move has become a trend and this is reflected in the type of property shows which are now airing on television. Architect and TV presenter George Clarke, has recently hosted a show on Channel 4 called Ugly House to Lovely House, where home owners transform their ‘ugly houses’ into beautiful homes with architectural merit. Many of these renovations that feature on the show also include Loft Conversions.

Property duo, Phil and Kirsty, have also turned their attention to refurbishment for their 2015 show Love it or List it. Each episode takes a couple through the options of moving or renovation.

Loft Conversion in London

According to a survey done by the London Homebuilding & Renovating and Home Improvement Show in 2014, a loft conversion was the most popular form of home improvement. Normally you don’t need planning permission for loft conversions, unless you live in a conservation area or a flat. Planning requirements do change from borough to borough, so it’s best to check before you embark on any work. If you have hired a loft conversion company they will help you to navigate the planning process.

Many families opt for a loft conversion so they can accommodate a growing family. They can also create light, drama and value to your house and adding a loft conversion can add up to 20 per cent on the value of your home.

Loft conversions are not a one size fits all job, there are many different type of conversions that fit different houses and the individual needs of a family. Simply Loft can help you decide what is the right loft conversion for you and your family, and can take you through every step including the planning process, design and build.

For more information about a Simply Loft conversion in London contact us on 0800 917 7571 or email us at

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