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Extensions add 6 billion to value of UK homes

Reports from estate agents and property assessors have found that extensions and other alterations to domestic properties have added value that totals billions of pounds.

Over the last year, work including extensions has increased the value of homes by a combined amount of £6.5bn, with almost one quarter of a million homeowners choosing to make extensive property changes. These extensions and conversions have added an average of around £30,000 to the value of each property.

Extending homes and rising property values in London

In the Capital, where owners often have to dig down, extending the basement in order to make any serious improvements to the property, the number of homeowners extending fell to one in every 44 property owners. However, research by Savills, the estate agents, has made it clear that London and the South East make up the greater amount of money earned, equalling around £3.6bn.

The head of research at Savills, Lucian Cook, notes that the costs involved with moving up London's housing ladder, and the problems with obtaining mortgage financing from banks mean that homeowners are instead deciding to alter or extend an existing property in order to accommodate their needs.

He has also believes that the changes forced by mortgage market review panels, and a rise in stamp duty paid on homes with a value of over £1m, are both playing a role in driving homeowners to improve existing properties. This, in turn, has resulted in impediments to the volume, and rate, of housing transactions currently in the market.

Why you should extend your property today

If you have been considering extending your property, either to increase its total value or to make more room in your home, then 2015 is the perfect time to do so. This is because the current Permitted Development Rights, or PDR, legislation which currently allows you to extend up to 8m from your property without the need for planning permission will be restricted to 4m in May 2016.

This means that all the work that you want to do, will have to be started by that period, or you could find yourself facing demands for revised planning permission. At the moment, you can build up to 8m out, so long as you inform the council and allow neighbours to pass opinion on your extension. The work will have to meet building regulations, and must be signed off as meeting those requirements by the council's department.

Structural Defects Insurance

At the moment, there are guidelines limiting what you can build, in order to make sure that it doesn't affect your neighbours. You can build a small single-or two-storey extension to the back of your property. Your only major limitation is that (usually) the space must be only 50% of the property's original footprint. This excludes other extensions, so make sure that you know whether your home has been extended in the past. Check with the council for a full list of requirements.

At the moment, there is no limit to the time you take to carry out these works, but if you wish to extend beyond the new limit of 4m, then your work will have to be completed by 30 May 2016, before the new regulations come in.

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