Cars nowadays are a lot more solidly built than they used to be, and as a result, fewer and fewer people actually keep theirs in a garage.
Two years ago, research by Sainsbury's Car Insurance revealed that fewer than a quarter of garages actually house a car, with more than half of car owners parking on the drive and a quarter on the road.
Meanwhile, space is at a premium in almost every home.
It's no surprise, then, that more and more people are converting their garage into a more useful space - and some are really going to town. We look at seven houses with imaginative garage conversions.
Gym and games room
The double-height garage of this four-bedroom house in Grimsby now boasts a gym with rubber flooring and mirrored walls on the ground floor with a games room under the eaves, complete with bar. Built three years ago, the house boasts solid wood floors and oak doors, and is finished to a high standard throughout. Outside is an ultra-modern garden with water feature and a fireplace. It costs £350,000
through Purple Bricks.
This garage conversion makes a particularly stylish home office, with plenty of room for several people to work. In Bradford, the four-bedroom detached house is near the station in the smart location of Apperley Bridge. It has three reception rooms and the unusual luxury of a shelved shoe room; there's a pretty walled garden at the back. It costs £435,000 from agent Purple Bricks.
The garage of this four-bedroom detached house in Portavogie, County Down, has been prettily kitted out as a beauty salon, complete with sink, spotlights and its own entrance. The house itself is attractively decorated - "One of the nicest homes that I have been in recently," says the agent. The characterful downstairs loo with 'library' wallpaper is particularly appealing.
The garage of this modern home in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire has been converted into an annexe, and if anything it's lighter and brighter than the main house. With a bed-sitting room, a kitchenette and a bathroom, it commects to the house through the utility room. The original house has a large, light kitchen/diner and four bedrooms. It's up for sale for £595,000 through agents Hamptons International.
There's plenty of room for the family to sit back and relax in the cinema room of this large modern home in Chatham, Kent. Converted from a double garage, it boasts an Epson 1080 HD projector, amplifier, Dolby surround sound and thx speakers integrated into the wall. As for the rest of the house, there are five bedrooms and three reception rooms, as well as a large and luxurious kitchen. Agents Purple Bricks are looking for offers over £750,000.
The original garage space of this house in South Ockendon, Essex, has been converted by the current owner into an art studio. There's plenty of light, thanks to bifold doors and a skylight, and it's also been fitted out with daylight lighting. The house itself has three bedrooms and two receptions, and there's a pretty garden to provide inspiration. It costs £475,000 from M&P Estates.
The original beam of the garage in this four-bedrooom house in Chesterfield has been cleverly used to hang a swing. And this is a great house generally for kids, with a good-sized garden with a bark-chipping area for play. There's a family room as well as a living room, and the main bathroom has a jacuzzi bath. The house costs £340,000 through agents Hunters.
10 things that add value to homes in an area
10 things that add value to homes in an area
A view out over the park isn’t just a nice bonus, it’s a valuable asset. A study by Marsh & Parsons has found that a park view can add up to 10% to a property's asking price.
It carried out its research in London, where it found that a view over Warwick Square in Pimlico added £75,000 to the asking price of a one-bedroom apartment.
Understandably, this is largely a London phenomenon, where the vast majority of train-based commuting takes place in the UK.
The Nationwide Building Society found that being 500m from a station would add 10.5% to the value of a property in London. In Manchester it fetched a 4.6% premium and in Glasgow 6%.
The researchers found that the closer the property was, the higher the premium would be - until the proximity of the station started having an impact on the area itself.
Having a Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer or the Co-operative within striking difference, will add value to your property. In fact, a survey by Lloyds claimed that it would add 7% - or just over £15,000.
However, apparently what we all really want is a Waitrose, because the same study found that having a branch nearby added almost £39,000 - or 12% to the value of the property.
The way the survey was carried out, however, doesn't make it clear whether this is a reflection of the attraction of the supermarket itself, or whether the supermarkets tend to target affluent areas with expensive houses.
People will pay 12% more to live in a market town than they will for the same property in the surrounding countryside. The findings come from Lloyds Bank, which claimed the towns offered a balance between country life and community spirit that proved irresistible to buyers.
It added that in some market towns the mark-up was even larger, with Beaconsfield in the South East attracting a 156% premium over the surrounding area.
A study by the London School of Economics found that living in a conservation area adds 23% to the value of your home. Given that this was an academic study, the researchers went even further and adjusted the results based on the kinds of properties in the area, and other aspects of the location (which none of the other studies took into consideration), and it still found an uplift of 9%.
Being near a good school will add 28% to the value of your home - according to Savills - with parents calculating that it’s cheaper to move into the catchment area of a good school and pay anything up to £100,000 more for their property than fork out for years of extortionate private education.
A study a few years ago by Zoopla discovered that living on a road with ‘Hill’ or ‘Lane’ in its name meant your property was likely to be 50% more valuable than the national average.
Those with ‘Mews’, ‘Park’ and 'Green’ in their names were also more valuable.
It’s unlikely that there’s any element of cause and effect here: instead they are by-products of the same thing. Expensive houses have always been built in the more exclusive parts of town, including the hills and the quiet ‘lanes’ around those hills.
A survey by Primelocation claimed that being near a top golf course would add 56% to the value of your property. It added that prices were also rising faster near golf courses than elsewhere in the country.
Of course, there’s a chance that the results were impacted by the fact that many of the courses are in leafy and exclusive areas, where people pay a premium to live regardless of the course.
You’d have thought the threat of flooding would make people take to the hills, but it appears we’re still happy to pay a premium to be beside the sea.
The Knight Frank Waterfront Index found that overlooking an estuary adds an average of 85% to the price of a property, a harbour adds 83%, while the coastline in general adds 56% to the value of the property. If you have a mooring, that’s even better, as it adds 104% to the value of your home.
Despite all the bad press surrounding flood plains and rivers breaking their banks, being near a river is actually more valuable than being by the sea.
The Knight Frank Waterside Index claims it adds 57% to the value of your property - making it the most valuable asset to have in the neighbourhood.