There’s been a lot in the press lately about the economics of various type of extension, including basement conversions, and whether they’re really worth doing. However, they often carry out the cost/benefit analysis in areas outside London, which have zero commonality with the economics of converting a basement in London.
Firstly, there’s stamp duty. Very few people outside London are going to be affected by the £925,000 threshold above which you start paying 10% on the top slice of the property. But even with the property market slowdown in London, this is not an unusual price to pay for a terraced house in the capital, and that’s outside the prime central areas.
Avoiding the property slowdown
The other thing influencing the basement conversion market at the moment is that property slowdown. As people hear more and more horror stories from their friends, of properties languishing on the market for months, and as quick sales become a thing of the past, conversion can seem a much more certain option. Once the decision to convert is taken, it can be implemented with the help of a basement company in London which has experience in this type of conversion.
Owners can take possession of a custom-designed additional space, often for the same cost as moving house but without all the stress of dealing with a sale and purchase. So basement conversions are increasingly seen as the best solution given the circumstances.
Making more of what you have already
Another motivating factor is the desire to make more of what you already have, often by integrating the garden more into the basement design, perhaps with a glass wall. Also, moving big space gobblers like the kitchen down to the basement means that you can take a completely fresh look at the ground and upper levels, and arrange them in a different way, to suit your current needs. Many people actually plan a two-phase project, with phase 1 being the basement dig and fit-out and phase 2 a redesign of the upstairs space.
The “squeezed middle” families with ageing parents who will need care, and growing children who will need flats, are often the ones who see an answer to their problems in basement conversion. Many of these families are looking for a basement that works in several roles: as a guest suite for friends, a granny flat which may help save an elderly relative from expensive nursing home fees or a launchpad for a son or daughter returning from university and finding their feet with a first job in London.
Others are using the new space in the basement to set up as alternative health practitioners, yoga teachers, crafts people, digital consultants, bloggers – the list is endless. It’s great for work/life balance to have a separate space for your business because you can “go to work” without the bother of actually commuting and then leave work behind and go upstairs to relax at the end of the day.