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Remote working opportunities lead to a jump in “garden offices” searches

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The rise in remote working has led to garden offices becoming the latest must-have feature for homes. Adding a garden office could make your days more productive if you’re a remote or hybrid worker and increase the value of your property.

A study from the ifo Institute in Germany found the UK is one of the leading countries when it comes to embracing working from home. On average, UK employees work from home 1.5 days a week. This compares to just 0.6 in France and 1 in Germany.

The research suggests both employees and employers are keen to increase remote working opportunities too.

On average, UK employees would like to work from home 2.3 days a week, and employers are aiming for 1.7 days. So, creating a productive work environment at home could become even more important in the future.

Home workers are turning to garden offices

According to figures from Legal & General, the number of people searching “garden office” on Google was 22% higher in 2022/23 when compared to searches before the Covid-19 pandemic.

For employees that are working from home, a garden office could provide an excellent way to create a dedicated workspace outside of their main living area.

A designated space to work could help boost productivity and improve wellbeing.

It can be difficult to set boundaries when you’re working from home – it’s easy to check your work emails if your laptop is nearby, even if you’ve clocked off for the day. So, setting up a garden office could be useful when you want to separate your work and personal life.

A garden office could boost the value of your home by 7.5%

Garden offices are a feature more homeowners are using to sell their property too.

The number of homes for sale that mention “garden office” in listings on Rightmove is up more than 1,000% when compared to just a decade ago.

Given the boost it could give your property’s value, it’s not surprising sellers are using the addition of a garden office to attract prospective buyers.

Data suggests a garden office could increase a home’s market value by 7.5% – adding more than £21,000 to the value of an average property.

The potential boost to your home’s value means adding a garden office could be useful even if you plan to move in the future.

You could add a garden office to your home without planning permission

Whether you need planning permission to add a garden office to your home will depend on a range of factors, including the size of the office.

However, a garden office may be considered for permitted development, which means you could avoid applying for planning permission. There are criteria you’d need to keep in mind.

According to Legal & General, permitted development buildings include those that:

  • Are not in front of a wall that forms a principal elevation

  • Do not have an eaves height of over 2.5 metres or an overall height of 4 metres (dual-pitched roof) or three metres (any other roof)

  • Do not have an overall height of more than 2.5 metres and sit within 2 metres of a boundary

  • Do not take up more than half the area of land around the “original house”

  • Are considered “incidental” (for example, it is used when working from home on a part-time basis)

  • Are not being used five days a week or to meet with clients.

The above list isn’t exhaustive. If you plan to add a garden office without planning permission, you may want to carry out additional research.

The government provides technical guidance for homeowners that are considering a permitted development. You could also contact your local authority planning department with specific questions about your plans.

Increasing the value of your home could help you access a lower interest rate

Adding a garden office could make your home more practical and attractive to prospective buyers if you want to move. It may also help you access a lower interest rate for your mortgage.

When you apply for a mortgage, lenders will consider the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, which measures how much you’re borrowing compared to the value of your property. Your LTV could fall as you make mortgage repayments or if the value of your home rises.

As lenders will often consider lower LTVs less risky, you may be able to access a lower interest rate when you move into a lower LTV bracket.

If you’re searching for a new mortgage and want to understand how your property’s value could affect the interest rate you might pay, please get in touch.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

Remote working opportunities lead to a jump in “garden offices” searches

Approved by The Openwork Partnership on 04/09/2023.