The coronavirus pandemic has seen a boom in interest in homes with an annexe, according to a report from insurance company, Aviva.

Worries about the safety of loved-ones, mean more London families are looking to buy properties with their own self-contained apartment – or to build one.

granny flat

Traditionally annexes have been used as “granny flats” for elderly relatives who need extra support. However, the housing challenges faced by young people mean they are equally likely to be used by so-called “boomerang” offspring, who have returned to the family home.

“The events of this year have focused many people’s minds on the home,” says Gareth Hemming of Aviva. “We’ve already seen that 85% of householders made some form of home improvement during lockdown, but this study suggests some have more radical developments in mind.

“Lockdown changed the make-up of some households, as young people returned home from university and older people joined support bubbles, so it’s possible that this has helped to crystallise people’s ideas for family accommodation.”

Around 40% of London families are already multigenerational, according to Aviva with almost one in 10 homes in the capital having some form of annexe – and a further 12% of home owners say they plan to build one. London estate agents have also reported a huge increase in house hunters seeking such properties, with buyers willing to pay a premium for the right annexe.

If you are thinking of building a granny flat, you may need to seek planning permission. This will depend on whether the flat will be within your home or in your garden and whether your property is listed or in a conservation area – but you should check with your local council first.

In the past, people buying a home with an annexe would have needed to pay a stamp duty surcharge, however, this was scrapped in 2014 as long as the annexe is in use by a family member.

Read more about this story in Homes & Property.

About the author

Nicolas Holmes

Nick joined Robert Holmes to inject fresh ideas and help grow the New Homes department of Robert Holmes as well as helping to inject technology into the business and to grow its client base. Together with one of the Directors Nick is in charge of all Development opportunities that Robert Holmes deals with along with sales. Aged 40, he provides succession together with the two existing directors. Nick has always been focused on building client relationships and sales. He built up his own gallery in Chelsea, where he had a loyal following of customers and artists.

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