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Upstairs downstairs: Brits bringing bedrooms to the bottom floor

24th June 2014 Print

There is a growing trend for converting downstairs rooms into bedrooms in British residential properties, according to Churchill home insurance. In a survey of UK estate agents, over half (56 per cent) said they have increasingly seen new downstairs bedrooms being created in the past few years.
More than one in ten (11 per cent) of Brits say they have either recently created, or plan to create, an extra bedroom on the ground floor, with nearly three-quarters (74 per cent)of those who have converted or are planning to convert, expecting the value of their property to increase as a result.
However, they could be extremely disappointed as only a fifth (21 per cent) of estate agents say that converted sleeping space on the ground floor adds to the value of a home. They see the main effect is a rise in potential rental income, with an average increase of 16 per cent for swapping living space for an extra bedroom.
Although nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of bedroom converters say that increased property value is the primary reason for the change, the reasons for this trend are not just financial.
Many homeowners are looking to help out their family, by making best use of the space they already have in their home. A fifth (21 per cent) wanted to create a spare bedroom for occasional guests and 13 per cent wanted the extra space for an adult son or daughter who was moving back home. Over one in 10 (11 per cent) converted sleeping space on the ground floor for their elderly relatives and an equal amount converted it for someone who was unable to climb the stairs, or for making extra room for a child that had outgrown their previous bedroom.
Martin Scott, head of Churchill home insurance, said: “Putting in a downstairs bedroom can be a very practical solution for homeowners, whether they may be finding space for a growing child, helping to care for elderly relatives or making visiting friends feel more comfortable. The cost of converting a downstairs room is likely to be significantly less than moving home, so whilst high property prices continue to be an issue, homeowners are making sensible changes to what they already own.”
“Increases in the number of bedrooms or occupants within the household could affect Home insurance cover and policy limits. Therefore, it is important homeowners make their insurer aware of changes to their properties.”