Britain has long been a nation of green-fingered gardeners and horticulturalists. From Ground Force to Gardeners’ World, Monty Don to Charlie Dimmock, and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show to young gardeners offering their top tips on social media, the fascination with all things garden-based has been an enduring one.
This love affair was, though, boosted to a greater degree than ever before during the pandemic, when garden space became a lifesaver for many and fast became a home-moving must-have.
With the pandemic receding, and no longer the number one news item on the agenda, has this love affair continued? Are houses with gardens still in high demand and how much value could a garden add to a property?
A price premium?
It’s long been known that a south-facing garden can add value to a home and increase demand, as it’s often a key factor for many buyers.
But how much value could having outside space really add? Recent research by London estate agent Benham and Reeves revealed that prospective buyers in the capital would be expected to pay a £64,000 premium on average to have access to a garden.
In well-to-do Kensington & Chelsea, this reaches even higher, with local buyers facing a huge £166,000 premium for garden space on average.
More central boroughs such as Westminster, Camden and the City of London also command premiums of more than £100,000.
Elsewhere, Knight Frank found that the average asking price for a London flat with a private garden is now 19% higher than one without – up from 16.6% in April 2021.
Chris Druce, Knight Frank’s senior research analyst, told the Evening Standard: “The increase in the garden premium shows the race for space triggered by the pandemic is far from run, and access to outdoor space remains high on buyers’ wishlists.”
Meanwhile, a 2020 study from Rightmove revealed that homes advertised as having highly coveted south-facing gardens had asking prices £22,695 higher on average than those without.
The data, which was analysed for the first time, looked at just under 400,000 three and four-bedroom homes across the UK, with those listed as having a south-facing garden found to have an asking price premium of 7%.
Rightmove’s analysis also showed that properties with south-facing gardens typically sell faster than those without, in nearly all the regions.
Surveys have also suggested that playing host to a bigger garden or having access to one was the number one thing that lockdown had changed in terms of buyer priorities.
For many, when searching for a property on Rightmove, Zoopla or OnTheMarket, garden space is a must-have.
Is demand holding up post-pandemic?
There was lots of research, during the height of the pandemic, pointing to a spike in demand for homes with gardens, with this being one of the clearest housing trends caused by the various lockdowns designed to keep Covid-19 at bay.
There has been less since, but equally nothing to suggest that this trend has started to diminish. The race for space is still playing a key role in the housing market, even now that more people are returning to cities.
Many studies in recent years have suggested that garden space is a major selling point for many buyers, while a recent Rightmove survey found that some 63% of homebuyers claimed having access to a garden or outdoor space is a priority, especially post-pandemic.
For sellers, meanwhile, a number of studies have shown that gardens can add value to a home, with a February 2021 study by the AA revealing that having garden space as part of your home can increase its value by 5%. And increasing that value can be achieved in a number of small, inexpensive steps in many cases, by keeping a garden well-maintained and healthy, and being in line with the latest garden trends.
How does this affect buyers and sellers?
For buyers, garden premiums are likely to be a reality when purchasing a home, but the potential upside of this is that, if they ever decide to sell a home later down the line, they will experience their own – probably even bigger due to house price inflation – premium.
For sellers, meanwhile, garden space is now a bigger asset than ever, with the capacity to increase asking prices quite significantly in many cases. If it’s a south-facing garden, this capacity becomes greater still.
What’s more, we are now entering the time of year – the early days of summer – where garden space really comes into its own as people hold family BBQs, meet-up drinks with friends or simply dine al-fresco when the mercury rises.
With warm weather now likely to be more regular, and much longer days, the chance for a garden to shine becomes greater. Sellers are typically recommended to make use of any garden or outdoor space they to maximise the appeal of their home, while buyers are likely to prioritise this space and be eagle-eyed about its contents.
Will gardens ever go out of fashion?
While some garden space can take a lot of time, money and effort to maintain, the appeal of having somewhere to tend to flowers, grow your own vegetable and let out your inner Alan Titchmarsh remains very strong – and was given a supercharged boost by the pandemic.
It seems highly unlikely this will wane anytime soon, although whether houses with gardens continue to generate such high premiums will only become clearer as we fully exit the pandemic and the importance of gardens to buyers perhaps weakens slightly.