Your home is probably the biggest investment you’ve ever made so it’s only sensible that you’re constantly looking for ways to add value to it.
For many people with a bit of extra land, a popular option for adding value to their home is to build a garage.
This article will break down the costs and benefits of building a garage - including how one could add value to your property. We'll also look at some of things you'll need to consider before deciding to build.
According to research by Admiral, the standard size of a UK garage is 128 square feet, with each square foot adding £350 of value to your property. That suggests a garage could add an extra £45,000 to your home's value.
With the average house price in England currently sitting around £275,000, that amounts to an average property value boost of more than 16 per cent.
As a general rule, garages for homes in cities -- and areas like London and the Home Counties -- increase the value of a property more than garages in other areas. This is because space - and particularly parking space - in many city areas is incredibly limited.
Curious about how much your house is worth right now? Try out our free, instant valuation tool now.
A garage can add value to your house in a number of ways.
Key ways include:
Any renovations that create extra rooms will quickly add value to a property - regardless of how you decide to use the space. Check out our blog on popular and easy ideas for garage conversions.
Home buyers commonly want a property with a parking space. This is especially true in cities and other areas where parking spaces are hard to find, and expensive to use. Thus, adding a garage would help make your property more attractive to potential buyers if you’re looking to sell in the near future.
A major benefit is that with a garage you can park your vehicle in an enclosed space. As a result, it will be more difficult for thieves or vandals to steal or damage your vehicle. That is no small thing, either. According to figures compiled by UKCrimeStats, 343,669 vehicle crimes were reported to police in England, Northern Ireland and Wales in 2020.
Other data shows that nearly 75,000 cars were stolen across the UK in 2020. Moreover, the Office of National Statistics have reported that 36% of stolen vehicles are taken via keyless theft, whereby thieves use a relay transmitter to break into and start a car within seconds. Locking a car behind a physical wall can create an added layer of protection, and prevent thieves from gaining access to the vehicle in the first place.
Experts are fond to point out that your parking habits could affect your car insurance premiums. Parking your car in a garage sometimes -- but not always -- helps lower your insurance premium.
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Garages come in many shapes and sizes, so you’ll need to carefully assess your particular circumstances before making a decision.
The standard UK single-car garage is usually 8 x 16 feet (2.44m x 4.8m) with a door clearance of 7 feet (2.13m). A medium-sized garage is roughly 9 x 18 feet (2.75m x 5.5m) and a larger building around 10 x 20 feet (3.05m x 6.1m).
You’ll need to consider the size of your car and take into account any likely looming vehicle purchases.
Cars today are generally larger than they were 25 years ago, so the typical garage size of the 1990s might not be appropriate for today’s vehicles. For instance, a new Ford Mondeo measures 15 feet 10 inches x 6 feet 1 inch (4.87m x 1.85m), meaning it wouldn’t fit into a traditional UK single-car garage.
When deciding on the space you’ll need for your car, however, it won’t be as simple as just measuring its dimensions with a tape measure.
Instead, you should factor in the amount of space you’ll need to open your door and get into and out of your vehicle. In most cases, that will roughly equal the width of your car plus around three and a half feet (1.07m) to take into account both the driver’s and passenger’s doors.
Additionally, when deciding on the size of your garage you should consider whether, for instance, you intend to use the garage for storage in addition to parking.
The good news is that no planning permission is generally required to build a detached garage on your property because it’s considered permitted development.
However, you must stick to very specific rules, which include but are not limited to:
The garage can’t be used as a living space. If you were considering using a garage as an extra bedroom, bathroom, or office you'll need to apply for specific permission.
The floor area must be less than 15 square metres if it’s freestanding, or less than 30 square metres if it’s attached to the house
The garage can only have a maximum height of 4 metres - unless it’s within 2 metres of your property’s boundary. In this case the maximum eaves height should be 2.5 metres.
The area used for the garage needs to be within your property’s boundary and must be less than half the total area of the property, excluding the original house
The garage can’t be in front of the side of the original house that faces a road
The garage can’t be within 3.5 metres of a boundary road behind the house
If your garage plans don’t fit within these restrictions, you’ll need to apply for planning permission before you begin work.
Different rules apply to listed buildings and those within a World Heritage Site, area of outstanding natural beauty or National Park. Many permitted development rights are not valid in these areas, so it’s important to consult your local planning office before you start work.
To be sure, it’s always a good idea to double check with your local planning authority before getting started anyway, in order to ensure you’re in accord with the latest relevant regulations.
Compared to other home improvements, adding a garage provides excellent return on investment.
On average, a garage build will cost between £18,000 and £24,000. A garage could add on average 16% to your property value -- or £45,000, based on average UK property prices. That means the added net value of your garage could be more than £20,000.
Furthermore, your garage could add even more value if you decide to convert it into an extra room.
In comparison, the following home improvements can add the following average value to your home, according to Virgin Money:
Loft conversion: 15%
Off-street parking: 10%
New kitchen: 6%
Additional bathroom: 6%
It's important to remember too, that large renovations, like a loft conversion, or installing an en suite, can cost significantly more than building a garage, meaning your actual return on investment will be lower.
Check out our free valuation tool to get an estimate of how much your home is worth, and some recommendations on which improvements will have the most impact on the value of your home.
While most people think of a garage as a place to park their car, but with proper damp-proofing, it can be used for other purposes as well.
Other common uses for a garage that don’t require extensive renovation include:
Storage for tools and garden items
Storage for furniture and household items that aren’t used regularly
Storage for food and groceries
A utilities room -- for example, a place to store your refrigerator, freezer, washing machine, or clothes dryer.
Of course, you could also consider converting an existing garage into a room to add even more value to your home. Check out our guide for beginners here.
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