Published on 5 June, 2017
There are a lot of things which can make one house more desirable than another. From the location, to the number of bedrooms it has, to how new the kitchen or bathroom suite is, everyone’s priorities are different when it comes to property shopping. But one universal thing that people care about when looking for a new house is whether or not it has a garden.
Gardens are great in the summer months... From hosting family BBQs, to spending balmy evenings enjoying the last of the sunshine, to providing a space for kids and pets to play, they’re a great asset to any property and advantageous to have when it comes to trying to sell your property.
Here at Hatched, we wanted to answer the question “Is Your Garden Worth It?”. To do this, we looked at numerous factors to find out: typical garden use; just how important gardens are to modern-day home owners; and to see whether gardens add any value to your home.
Our research showed that although we’re a nation who love a house with a garden, these outdoor spaces have most definitely shrunk over the years. The average garden in 2015 measured just 14 metres squared, compared to 16.8 metres squared in 1983 – that’s a decrease of around 17%! Using this data, which illustrates a clear reduction in size consistently over time, we have predicted that the size of an average garden at the end of 2018 (next year) might measure just 12.6 metres squared.
Even with these spaces shrinking, it turns out that people are still not making the most of the outdoor space that they do have. When asked to select their average yearly use, the majority (32.68%, or around a third) of people admitted that they only use their garden around 20 times per year (equating to just once or twice a month). One in ten people, however, said that they use their garden more than once a week (12.18%), showing that there is a spread of use for homeowners across the country.
One of the main reasons that people wanted their property to have a garden for children and pets – and an outdoor space is the perfect place for them to play. The next most popular choices were for social reasons, with hobbies like gardening and wildlife-watching following closely behind. People care much less about having a garden to enjoy the weather, perhaps with English summer’s being notoriously disappointing.
With younger people growing up in an age where gardens are shrinking and new build properties have smaller and smaller outdoor spaces, we wondered whether age had any impact on how important a maintained garden was when looking for a new property. From our research, it’s clear it did.
The older you get the more important a garden is – or so our research shows. The findings show a strong trend of importance for a garden increasing through the older demographics. For example, a third (32.97%) of those over 55 considered having a garden as being ‘very important’, compared to only one in ten of under 35s (8.38%). Overall, the 18-35 demographic said that having a garden ‘isn’t a priority’ for them. With those aged 55+ more likely to be retired, and so potentially having more time on their hands to enjoy the garden, perhaps it’s easy to see why.
Orientation can certainly be an additional selling point. South-facing gardens are commonly thought to be most desirable, getting ample sunshine and light compared to properties in other directions. However, when the house prices were compared, the direction of the garden didn’t seem to have a clear correlation (or make any tangible difference) to a property’s value. Recent research has suggested that south-facing gardens carry a premium of just 0.37 percent over those with north-facing plots, dispelling previous myths that south-facing means more for your cash.
Last year, an article by The Telegraph claimed that a good garden can add up to 20% more value to a property, so we decided to look into this 0.37 percent stat a little more closely.
Using some of our current live ‘For Sale’ ads (as of 24 May 2017), we analysed the listings to see if having a garden significantly improved a property’s value or not. The findings were pretty interesting, with house prices on a whole having a much higher average value when a property had a garden, and you can see examples of this in London and Preston below.
As you can see, properties in the capital were worth 9% more with an outdoor space - this could be because many central properties only have very small garden areas. In Preston, however, this increase was even more significant, and properties were worth a staggering 44% more with the addition of a garden. There was one minor anomaly, however… Properties in Manchester seemed to have a better average value without a garden, but this was only marginally.
It is worth noting, that many other factors may also come into account for property valuations and house prices, including (but not limited to): size; location; design; appliances; and so on.
Overall, our research showed that we still love a property with a good garden (especially those of us with children and pets) and that having a garden can add a significant amount of value to your home. That is, of course, unless you’re a Mancunian, where sadly it doesn’t it doesn’t make a difference… Could be something to do with all that rain.