UK loses almost 9 million bedrooms during the pandemic - Blog

UK loses almost 9 million bedrooms during the pandemic

UK loses almost 9 million bedrooms during the pandemic

Residential George F. White 1st March 2022

More than four in ten British homeowners transformed their spare bedrooms into offices, gyms, cinemas and more during the pandemic and this accounts for nearly nine million bedrooms were lost as the UK adapted to the new normal.

How have our homes changed?

- A survey of homeowners across the UK to understand how the nation’s room requirements shifted - and how our homes changed as a result showed that:

- Among those who changed their homes, more than half (53%) said they completely repurposed at least one bedroom, while one in five households (22%) said they changed multiple bedrooms.

- Nationally, this equates to a whopping 8,856,000 bedrooms that have been ‘lost’ amongst the UK’s 24m privately owned homes during the pandemic.

- With remote and hybrid working now set to be a mainstay for many, almost half (46%) of those who have made changes have created a home office.

- That means more than 4.5m new home offices have emerged across the UK. And over half of homeowners (58%) say they plan to permanently keep them.

Alongside home offices, there are plenty of other ways Brits have reincarnated rooms in their homes since March 2020. Across the UK:

- 1.3m home gyms have been created

- 984,000 home bars

- 900,000 home cinemas or music rooms

- 688,800 dedicated classrooms

Repurposing rooms doesn’t come cheap.

Research shows that UK homeowners who adapted their homes spent an average of £3,714, with home offices costing on average £1,735, gyms £1,568 and home cinemas £3,841.

Nationally, this equates to a total of approximately £36.5 billion.

Working from home - who contributes to the setup and ongoing costs? 

A contentious issue as whilst some have been fortunate to have the choice whether to work from home or not others may not feel they had the same luxury. Many of those now working from home may feel this change was forced upon them and they have had to give up living space in order to simply carry out their jobs.

In fact, 16% of homeowners who created one say they resent giving up space in their home for the benefit of their employer. Nearly seven in ten (67%) believe that employers should pay all or some of the cost of setting up a home office, with 12% thinking that they should even offer compensation for the space lost.

However, the reality is that just 2% of those who set up home offices say that their employer offered compensation, and only 30% say they made any contributions towards costs at all. Just 10% covered the full costs. 

An unhappy compromise?

For those who have had to repurpose rooms, more than half (55%) say this has meant they have had to compromise on their space at home, leaving homeowners less happy with the space they have.

Amongst those who have, 28% say they now have less space for guests to stay, 21% say they have less or no privacy and 11% state that their children now have to share a bedroom. 

However, this feeling of not being completely happy with your home rises significantly amongst younger homeowners, who are likely to have smaller properties. More than eight in ten (83%) homeowners under 25 say they are currently having to compromise with their living spaces. 

For many, having to change their home setup during the pandemic has highlighted the need to find somewhere new and better suited to their changing needs. Of homeowners who have made changes, nearly a third (32%) say that this has made them consider moving home.

Nikki Gibson, a Valuer within the Northumberland office of George F. White, said "Working from home will have proved a tricky challenge for some and very much an exercise in balancing up the savings on the costs of commuting against the costs of setting up a home office".

"The rise of open plan living also means that in some properties in can be a challenge to set up a home office or simply find a quiet space to take calls or join a Zoom or Teams meeting".

"There is also the increasingly popular garden office - which could be anything from a glorified shed to a swanky purpose-built luxury cabin which not only can enable a better work/life balance and space to work outside of the family home, but it will definitely add value, if suitably constructed and done so within appropriate planning regulations, and not take it away, which could be the case if you convert a bedroom."



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