In praise of loft conversions


Research by GE Money Home Lending offers encouragement to those wanting to move to a larger home but unable to meet the rising costs involved.

According to GE Money, a loft conversion can increase the value of a property by between £22,000 and £45,000, depending upon the location.

The Loft Shop, which operates a number of loft conversion showrooms, reckons that a one-room loft extension costs in the region of £16,000 whereas two bedrooms and a bathroom will cost around £40,000.

The work takes about 12 weeks but disruption can be kept to a minimum up to the point where the new staircase is put in.

Current planning requirements stipulate that a loft conversion needs to provide a head space of 2.3 meters, so prospective convertees should initially check that they can stand upright at the highest point in their loft.

The work requires planning consent and building control approval, both of which incur fees that vary between local authorities and are dependent on the size of the project.

In general, loft conversions come under what is called permitted development but a government white paper published this May could change the situation and those currently considering a loft conversion could find the planning process more difficult once the legislation is in place.

It could mean that 90% of planning applications will need to go through the full planning application process, which currently takes around eight weeks but is likely to take longer if the law changes.

In terms of funding, many mortgage lenders provide loans for home improvements by increasing an existing mortgage. Alternatively, they may allow equity to be released by remortgaging.

In 2006, 126,000 loft conversions were allowed under permitted development in the UK.

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