Nowhere is Britain’s housing crisis more keenly felt than in the capital, where starter homes can cost up to £450,000 – almost twice the national equivalent – making them ‘affordable’ only to those with an income of £50,000 or more, which very few young people can aspire to.
And there’s no sign of the situation easing. Even if David Cameron meets his promise of delivering 200,000 new starter homes a year, it still falls short of the 240,000 experts say we need. Factor in London’s indigenous population boom and its attraction for economic migrants and the prospects for first time home owners look even bleaker.
The irony is that if all the unused loft space in the capital were converted – about two thirds of all London properties – the city’s housing problem could be solved overnight. If that includes your property, a loft conversion would enable you to find a personal solution to the housing crisis – on behalf of your kids – without putting anything like a strain on the Bank of Mum & Dad that underwriting a mortgage would!
At the very least you should be able to convert you loft space into a self-contained bed-sitter for your son or daughter. Space permitting you will also be able to add a shower room and a kitchenette, giving them complete independence and autonomy. And as we say, it’s relatively inexpensive and hassle free. Planning permission for a loft conversion is rarely required, and the whole project can usually be completed within six weeks.
No kids? If you’ve held back from starting a family because you’ve no room for a baby, you could convert your loft space into a nursery. Or if you’d like to move up the housing ladder yourself but find London property prices beyond your present means, you can move up rather than out!
And speaking of property prices, you actually stand to gain rather than lose with a loft conversion. In the Greater London area a loft it’s an investment that will typically add 20% to the value of your home – useful if you’re looking for equity release to pad out your pension.
Finally to return to the general housing crisis, it’s an ill wind that blows no good, and it might be that you can do your bit to ease the situation – and be rewarded for it at the same time – by becoming a convert-to-let or convert-to-sell homeowner.
As specialists in loft conversions and home extensions we’d be pleased to advise you on the type and specifications of home improvements that make properties attractive to potential tenants or buyers. See our November 9th blog for further details.