What is a garden annexe?
A garden annexe is a self-contained living space sited within the grounds of another property, separate from the main building – a double-glazed, centrally heated ‘outhouse’ with bathroom and fitted kitchen. Sometimes called a ‘granny annexe’ (because they’re popular with elderly relatives), garden annexes are also a hit with young adults (and their parents) who can’t afford a home of their own. Plus they work well as a guest room or a work-from-home office space.
Why so popular?
With today’s sky-high property prices, it’s easy to see why so many people are looking to extend their living space to accommodate a growing family. And although garden annexes aren’t a cheap solution, they certainly cost a lot less than moving to a larger property. Research has shown that a garden annexe can add as much as 27% to the asking price of a house compared to similar properties within the same area – so they can actually be a good investment.
The demand for garden annexes has become so great that a whole new industry has emerged to satisfy it. And there’s a dizzying variety of styles to choose from – from single-room ‘pods’, to luxurious buildings with high-end fixtures and fittings – properties that most of us would be proud to call our main home. Of course, these grander designs come with a price tag to match, but as they’re constructed on land that’s already part of an existing property, they cost far less than a regular home in its own grounds.
What about planning permission?
According to analysis by Churchill Home Insurance, around 81% of garden annexe planning applications have been approved by local councils, and the success rate climbs to 84% for applications to convert an existing structure into a garden residence. Yet even the relatively small number of homeowners who fail to get approval needn’t despair, because there’s now a range of compact, off-the-shelf garden annexes that don’t require planning permission – and prices start at under £30,000.