Rise in home extensions as coronavirus lifestyle drives quest for extra living space

The coronavirus crisis has sparked a surge in the number of people looking to extend their homes as they seek more space.

With vast swathes of the population working from their kitchen tables and strict limitations put on outside activities and entertainment, the property market has seen major changes.

Homes in the countryside and those with extra rooms and gardens have been selling fast and at much higher prices than before the pandemic.

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Now the latest figures show there has been a significant increase in the number of home-owners choosing to stay put but maximise their living and working space.

There has been a rise in the number of Scots opting for conservatories and extensions with a solid roof, like this one in Stonehaven

In most cases it’s cheaper to extend, if possible, than to move house.

Scottish firm CR Smith, which specialises in windows, doors and conservatories, has seen enquiries for conservatories and orangeries rise by more than a fifth over the past few months.

The design team is currently working with customers on more than 100 bespoke projects of varying size for both new-build and traditional period homes

While some customers are interested in simply adding an extra room, many are also looking more imaginatively at how to create new open-plan living areas by extending existing rooms.

CR Smith has experienced a 22 per cent increase in enquiries for sun rooms and orangeries over the past few months, as the impact of coronavirus restrictions drives lifestyle changes

Home working is a key consideration, but the company has found one of biggest drivers behind the demand is the desire for more quality space to enjoy time with family and friends.

Design trends are also changing, with more than half of customers now requesting solid roofs rather than glass – although the desire for natural light remains paramount.

Gerard Eadie, executive chairman of CR Smith, said: “After months of restrictions on travel, spending more time at home has reignited many people’s dreams for not only extending their house but also using this additional space to reconfigure how they get the most out of their homes.

“It has also been a time to re-evaluate our homes and consider the value we place in them. Adding extra room does all these things.”

Many clients have been looking for extra space to accommodate working from home, but most demand has been for bigger and better living areas with lots of light

The firm has come up with new products and services to better satisfy clients’ needs and to take account of Covid-19 restrictions.

CR Smith’s design team has upgraded the traditional conservatory to incorporate not only brick-built piers but also an internal part-solid ceiling, allowing for modern features such as mood lighting and integrated sound systems.

Mr Eadie added: “We have designed new sun rooms to blend light and space and have introduced an enhanced customer experience by creating a new digital-first sales process that combines the virtual with the physical.

“This new model puts customers in full control of the process to get their design right and includes a virtual consultation and free 3D design visuals, all in advance of a home visit, with all social distancing protocols in place.”

Vaughan Hart, managing director of the Scottish Building Federation, has welcomed the new services and their potential environmental benefits.