Surge in planning applications for home improvements

Planning applications for home improvements have surged in recent years, with a boom in basements and loft conversions and a drop-off in conservatories, analysis has found.

There has been a 27% increase in the number of planning applications across England, Scotland and Wales between 2012 and 2016, according to a review of local authority data from Halifax Insurance.

Britain's "dream home" is changing, the findings suggest. There has been a growth in applications for single-storey extensions and loft conversions - while basements, which are particularly popular in London, have seen a huge 183% rise in applications since 2012.

But conservatories and porches are falling out of fashion in most parts of the country, Halifax Insurance found, recording a 3% fall in applications.

Wiltshire and Cornwall buck the trend, with conservatories and porches remaining popular in these areas, the research found.

Meanwhile, kitchen renovations are particularly popular in Edinburgh, and in Derby home owners are particularly likely to want to improve on both bedrooms and bathrooms.

Home owners in Cornwall are also particularly likely to want to spruce up garages and car ports.

Some home owners may be choosing to improve rather than move. Separate research from Lloyds Bank recently found that in the first half of 2017, the number of home movers was down by 2% compared with the same period a year earlier.

The typical price paid by home movers for a property has surged by 41%, from £206,122 in 2012 to £290,991 by June 2017 - an increase of £84,869, Lloyds found.

Jeremy Ward, head of home insurance at Halifax, said many people may not realise they need to let their insurer know about works they carry out on their home - with just 14% of home owners saying they have notified their insurer before starting work.

He said: "It's imperative to have the necessary insurance policy in place whilst carrying out the work and equally important to update insurance when the job is complete - failing to do so will invalidate the policy.

"On the positive side, however, having a burglar alarm or CCTV installed as part of home renovations could help reduce premiums, and also provide extra peace of mind."

Here is the regional growth in planning applications since 2012, according to Halifax Insurance, which analysed figures between January 2012 and December 2016:

:: London, 60%

:: East of England, 31%

:: East Midlands, 28%

:: South East, 24%

:: West Midlands, 19%

:: Yorkshire and the Humber, 19%

:: North West, 18%

:: South West, 11%

:: Wales, 6%

:: North East, 6%

:: Scotland, 3%

And here are the regions most likely to show a preference for a particular home attribute, according to the research, which also surveyed more than 2,000 home owners:

:: Separate utility room, East Midlands

:: Garden or outside space, South West

:: Loft extension, West Midlands

:: Swimming pool, South West

:: Bi-folding doors, Wales

:: Man cave, Yorkshire and the Humber

:: Home gym, London

:: Hot tub, East Anglia

:: Games room, Wales

:: Tennis court, London

UK property hotspots 2017 (according to Zoopla)
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UK property hotspots 2017 (according to Zoopla)


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