Yorkshire annexe specialist sees sales soar as families choose to live together apart plus planning rules

Yorkshire based annexe manufacturer iHus has reported a huge surge in sales.Between the first quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, it saw a 163 per cent increase in the number of homeowners buying one of its buildings.It has also seen a 22 per cent increase in the average size of the annexe ordered.This boom in business for the Doncaster firm, which was founded by Trevor Smeaton, is thought to be due to a number of factors, some familiar and some relatively new.The number of people investing in an annexe for elderly relatives has become more popular.However, iHus managing director James Lund-Lack says that the increased cost of moving up the property ladder is now helping to drive sales.He says: “If you have a young family and you want to move from a two-bedroom house to a three or four-bedroom house, it is a big leap in price, especially if you live in an affluent area in the south of England, where house prices are high.“Inflation and higher mortgage interest rates are also at play and so we are seeing more families pooling resources.

“So, if parents have an £800,000 house, they can sell that and release the money tied up in it to help their children buy a larger home while investing in a maintenance free annexe for themselves in the grounds and having money in the kitty.

“Families often benefit from working as a team and living together but apart like this.”

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One recent example was a couple who sold their house in Bournemouth to help their son and his wife onto the property ladder.

The two-bedroom Melton annexe is from £127,570The two-bedroom Melton annexe is from £127,570
The two-bedroom Melton annexe is from £127,570

James says: “Their son and daughter-in-law bought a house and the couple bought an annexe and sited it there while releasing money for their retirement.

“Having the family living together on one site also helped their daughter-in-law return to work after having a baby. She couldn’t afford childcare so her parents-in-law look after the child while she maintains her career.”

He adds: “We used to have a 70/30 split with 70 per cent of our annexes used for elderly relatives/social care and 30 per cent which were built for purely financial reasons like the one mentioned.

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“We are now seeing a 50/50 split as financial reasons became more of a driver and the annexes are also being built to house a younger demographic.”

Single parent Zoe has a two-bedroom annexe in her mum’s garden for herself and her son who has autism and ADHD.

She says: “We looked at buying a flat but we would’ve had to carry out adaptations and lose the garden space. We also thought about extending mum’s house but preferred having the process managed for us by iHus.”

iHus offer a turn key solution and its one-bedroom annexes are from £105,000 and a two-bedroom annexe costs from around £127,570.

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They come with screw pile foundations and are timber-framed, insulated and timber clad with electric heating and hot water systems installed.

Requirements may vary when it comes to planning permission but generally your annexe should only take up to a third of your garden and must be subservient to the main house and draw its services from the main home. It must also adhere to building regulations.

Remember that planning rules are stricter and may vary in National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and conservation areas.

As for council tax, contact your local authority for details but generally, as long as the annexe is in use by a family member or the main house owner, this is payable at the reduced rate of 50 per cent of your banding, though if it is occupied by dependent relatives you may be exempt.

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A relative is usually classed as dependent if they are over the age of 65, disabled or severely mentally impaired.

If a relative is contributing towards the cost of an annexe or paying for it outright then have legal documents drawn up stating contributions and wishes. Otherwise, issues could ensue if couples split or those living in the annexe pass away.

While ready-made is a largely hassle-free option, another way of getting a home within a home is via permitted development as an extension to an existing property. This could be a side extension or the conversion of a large garage/outbuilding into self-contained accommodation.

Estate agents agree that an annexe is often a selling point, especially in an era when many more of us work from home. However, if they dominate and leave a property with very little garden, they can be a hindrance when selling.

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Extreme care is required when buying an annexe as where there is a hot market, there are always rogue traders .

The National Annexe Providers Charter, www.napc.uk, is a useful website. It specialises in obtaining planning permission for annexes and its blogs are an informative read. Visit www.napc.uk/news/

*For details on iHus and its show homes visit: www.iHusannexe.com