How will Brexit affect UK house prices in 2017?

The groundbreaking decision to leave the European Union has not only caused shockwaves throughout the world, but it has also resulted in a great degree of uncertainty, most notably in the housing market. While it’s obvious that the post-Brexit era is clouded in unpredictability, much of the negative forecasting from remain voters has so far proved to be rather overzealous.

Yes, the pound did fall to its lowest rate for over 30 years within 24 hours of the historic referendum result, but it has been slowly stabilising ever since. Investor confidence has increased, resulting in a 16% increase in the FTSE 100, while consumers’ confidence has remained virtually the same. Experts predicted a huge crash in house prices, but while there were some mild repercussions, things have generally picked up since the aftermath. By and large, it has been business as usual.

The real effects of Brexit will only truly emerge once Theresa May triggers Article 50. The ensuing two-year period of negotiations between the UK and the rest of Europe promises to be a tricky one, which may well impact negatively on the economy. However, the predictions now being cast are significantly warmer compared with the hysteria of 2016. A housing crisis is thankfully not on the horizon, and the price of properties is still projected to increase, albeit at a slower pace.

Perhaps one of the knock-on effects from these negotiations will be a diminished urgency to move home, and an inclination to stay put for the time being, at least until the period of uncertainty is over. It’s fair to say that Brexit has left some homeowners worried, which is why there has been an influx in house extensions, loft conversions and basement renovations, as they represent a safer and cheaper way to get more space.

As the sterling dips against the dollar, the London market seems to benefit somewhat, as this effectively gives a 10% discount to those paying with US dollars. Many foreign investors are eying up opportunities in London and snapping up properties faster than the natives. One area that was predicted to flounder after the referendum was the development of super-luxe properties in the capital, but after a brief respite, it has experienced a resurgence and is starting to bustle again.

The Bank of England’s decisive move in reducing interest rates to a record low of 0.25 should also contribute to allaying the fears of prospective homebuyers. For those scouring the market, putting in a lower bid than usual wouldn’t go far amiss in the current climate, while those looking to sell up should still be able to do so quickly, provided that the pricing is realistic.

While there are conflicting indicators regarding the long-term future of the property market in the post-Brexit era, the short-term certainly seems relatively stable, as opposed to what was foretold. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors are predicting a cumulative 14% increase in property prices over the next five years, which is possibly the most upbeat prognosis to date. With an ever-improving employment rate and competitive mortgage lending rates, there are still great opportunities to take advantage of in the market.

Uncertainty will likely intensify when the UK government triggers Article 50 by the end of March.

benefits basement conversion

What can you achieve with basement conversion

There seems to be a growing trend in London over the last few years, although this trend is not growing upwards, rather, it is submerging into the subterranean depths of our neighbourhoods. Given the extreme shortage of space in the capital, homeowners have been desperate to find ways to increase the size of their properties, but with the strict planning permission policies that come with building on land, the basement conversion is now the extension du jour, particularly in the most affluent of areas.

The super-rich in Kensington & Chelsea have been modifying their homes into iceberg properties, that is to say, fitting in mega-basements with multiple storeys to make room for home cinemas, private car parks, underground swimming pools, gyms and even tennis courts. Recently, the council was forced to tighten controls on basement conversions, as the overzealous desires of these wealthy homeowners began to provoke the ire of neighbouring communities with the continuous disruption of high-decibel drilling, blocked roads and parking suspensions.

 

 

Kensington & Chelsea was the first borough in London that felt compelled to respond to this superfluity in planning applications by limiting the size of basement projects. However, the 10% of applications that now get rejected is just simply amended, resent and then accepted. Provided that the basement doesn’t exceed the capacity of the property, there still exists far more flexibility in building downwards than upwards. The best way to ensure a basement project will be accepted is to cap the extension to no more than a quarter of the house’s floor space.

Having said that, it’s safe to say that a basement renovation is now the emblem of indignation for non-beneficiaries. The fact that most of these oligarchs, sheikh and other profligate homeowners seldom stay in their iceberg properties throughout the year, only heightens the feeling of a collective nuisance. Even celebrity neighbours have begun to vent their frustration at each other over planned works, most notably Jimmy Page, who took umbrage to the proposed plans of Robbie Williams and a 46-roomed basement extension to his property in Holland Park.

 

basement conversion entertainment room

 

In 2010, Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi were so infuriated at a garden renovation next door that they ended up selling their Belgravia property and decided to move to a new house in Chelsea. Ironically, they have recently undergone a basement extension in this new household, and have added a wine cellar, a gym and a swimming pool – hardly the most modest of alterations.

Nearby, the Beckhams have deeply upset their neighbours over the past few years with extensive renovations taking place throughout their £30 million mansion, which includes a full basement conversion, complete with a powder room, a playroom and a secret tunnel that veers onto a nearby property, enabling them to preserve their anonymity.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Nicole Kidman, Frank Lampard and Roman Abramovic are just some of the other high profile people that have massively enriched their subsurface capacities in recent times, much to the displeasure of many of course. With that being said, these super-rich figures have propagated a new direction in the housing market and ushered in an era of basement obsession.

Andi Pepaj, director of APT Renovation, has spearheaded a wide range of medium to large scale basement renovations throughout London, “we’ve installed gyms, art galleries, recording studios, home cinemas and even golf ranges. The list is endless”. The demand is certainly not abating, with more than 900 basement conversions having taken place over the past five years in Kensington & Chelsea alone, and much more in the planning process. “We’ve experienced a spike in calls for extensions over the last few years, and we take on anywhere between 10 to 15 basement projects at any one time”, cites Pepaj.

 

 

These particular projects rarely exceed a single storey, keeping in line with newly placed restrictions on mega-basements. An evergreen avidity of the wealthy, the iceberg property continues to garner negative publicity in the press, with many individuals facing high levels of scrutiny. This unwanted attention is exactly why APT Renovation is now mainly receiving requests to simply boost the available space, provide functionality with gorgeous aesthetics, rather than creating additional storeys.

People are beginning to cotton onto the fact that a basement extension represents the most viable option to increase the living space of a property in London. It can also significantly boost the sell-on value if done correctly. A fully converted basement in your home can increase the value of your property by up to 20% in some parts of London, and can also land you some passive income if you decide to turn the space into a rentable bedroom.

Nigel Phillips, 50, and his wife Linda, 42, bought their stunning house in Trebovir Road, Earls Court, a number of years ago, and decided to add some more value to the property and put it back on the market. APT Renovation oversaw a complete overhaul and extension of their basement, to make way for a spacious gym area. This included a multitude of new furniture, ornaments and decorations that were crafted by their bespoke joinery. The couple paid £270,000 for the works, and the basement has now added £1million in value to the property.

For many, the monetary aspect is not the be all and end all, as the basement renovation represents a way to add a new dimension to a property – a space for relaxation, creativity or entertainment, or to accommodate additional family members. In St John’s Wood, Tim Reynolds, 45, wanted to make room for his parents when they came to visit. From the outside, you’d never guess, but APT was able to fit in a large lounge area, as well as a double ensuite bedroom with a lightwell.

 

 

Despite the obvious benefits for the homeowner, the whole process of a basement conversion can be a harrowing experience for adjoining residents, and a party wall notice must be issued at least two months before the perspective works are carried out. A Party Wall agreement can set the project back for months and will involve lawyers, engineers and surveyors, so the sooner you get your neighbour on board with the plans, the better.

Burrowing deep into the ground means that more often than not, water will be encountered, which will inevitably slow the whole process down and cause further angst to neighbours. However, there has been some progression in water management as Andi Pepaj explains; “before, we had to block perched groundwater in basements by using a tanking system, but this was susceptible to leaks. Now we are able to drain unwanted water through a cavity membrane and pump it all out”.

With London being the second most expensive city in the world to buy property (after Monaco), it is no wonder many homeowners have sought to increase their living space underground rather than purchasing a new home. The huge disparity between the capital and the rest of the UK means that the need and desire for a basement conversion are significantly lower outside London. Extortionate rates and strict planning restrictions for above ground expansion simply aren’t prevalent outside of the capital, which is why the basement-boom is continuing to flourish in London.

planning permission basement conversion

Planning Permission for Basement Conversion

1. When you are required to apply for planning permission

Basement conversion project requires planning permission if you want to:

  • Make a dig up and excavation
  • make a alterations to your building, eg building an extension
  • make changes to use of building

To find out more about your basement conversion project need planning permission.

Simply contact APT Renovation team.

Please note: If your basement conversion project requires planning permission and you do comply with rules, you can get penalty ‘enforcement notice’ which will enforce to undo all the changes you have made to your basement conversion.

What is planning permission?

If you are constructing a new basement conversion and making extensive changes to existing buildings you will be required the permission for your local planning authority to get a planning permission.

This planning system is designed to control inappropriate development.

In this case APT Renovation can do it for you.

When do I need planning permission?

If you planning to excavate and create more space in property or alteration of existing building you will need to apply for planning permission.

Basement conversion requires planning permission depending on the size meter square of the project and the level of Permitted Development rights afforded to or still remaining on a property.

What are Permitted Development Rights?

Permitted Development was first introduced at the beginning of our planning system – in the Town and Planning Act on 1st July 1948.

Which allows make minor changes in building planning, such as converting a loft or extension so in this case you need  to go for full planning permission.

What’s the difference between Outline and Full planning permission?

Outline planning permission is not advisable for basement conversion project.

APT Renovation advice you to go full planning permission.

 

How much will an application cost?

The fee for submitting a planning application varies depending on the nature of the development.

As well as fees for pre-application advice please contact APT Renovation, as we receive your required information in details we can give the exact price.

What is the basic form of a planning application?

Each basement conversion has different layout and shape which required to include five copies of planning permission application forms, the signed ownership certificate, a site plan, block plan and elevations of both the existing and proposed sites, a Design and Access Statement and the correct fee.

What is Design and Access statement, how do I get one, and how much will it cost?

The statement for basement conversion has to include all planning applications except householder building works which is located at unprotected areas and changes of use.

Statements they show justification of proposal’s basement design concept and the access.

The level of detail depends on the scale of the project and its sensitivity.

Most authorities will have guidance notes available to help you but, unfortunately, this is something which everybody knows how to submit, if you are planning to submit simply contact APT Renovation.

What are planning Conditions?

Planning permission directly links with planning conditions which you will need discharging/agreement for your project.

Planning conditions are extremely important and failure to comply with local authorities can result in breach of condition notice, to which there is no right of appeal — not to mention it could be enforced through the courts by prosecution.

Conditions can be as simple as requirement of your project materials to match existing ones, or that all boundary treatments must be agreed.

How are applications decided?

After our submission of your project application, local authority will make a decision on material considerations, which includes (but are not limited to):

  • Highway safety
  • Loss of light or overshadowing
  • Noise
  • Overlooking/loss of privacy
  • Traffic
  • Government policy
  • Impact on listed building and Conservation Area
  • Layout and density of building
  • Design, appearance and materials
  • Disabled access
  • Nature conservation
  • Proposals in the development plan
  • Previous planning decisions
  • Parking

While neighbours and parish councils (in England and Wales) are consulted and invited to comment on your design project, only objections based on material, loss of privacy, proposals in development plan considerations are taken into account.

If your  neighbours happy with your design project and doesnt have any objections and the officers recommend approval, you will be granted planning permission for your basement conversion project.

If your basement conversion project has objections or the application elevated into a committee by one of your local councillors, then the decision will be made by a majority vote by the local planning committee.

During the planning meeting, you or your agent (APT Renovation) will be given an opportunity to address the planning committee.

 basement conversion company in london

Do I Need a Planning Consultant?

APT Renovation highly recommend you to consult with us prior to buying any plot, to work out the potential of basement conversion project.

By consulting with us you can end up saving thousands of pounds on buying a property that turns out not to be allowed to make basement conversion.

Our planning consultant team has extensive experience and full knowledge of the latest planning policies that basement conversion project requires, and also to prepare planning to create basement conversion in restricted areas such as a Conservation Area or AONB.

How long does is take to get planning permission?

Once your planning application for your project has been submitted by APT Renovation, the planning department will check all planning information it requires has been received together with the correct design.

Local authorities can issue planning permission within 8 to 10 weeks of submission.

In some cases signage proposed basement conversion planning will be posted outside you property related to development of your project and any neighbours likely to be affected to be invited to view the plans and to comment.

This is known as the public consultation process and it takes three to eight weeks.

The authority will intitiate statutory consultations with your local Highways department, as well as Environment Agency.

What if my planning application is refused?

Our experience shows that 85 per cent of applications are granted. If your planning application has been refused, we will take a close look and make amendments to resubmit you application with compliance of local authorities requirements, or you we can make an appeal on your behalf to the planning inspectorate — around 90 per cent of householder applications are later granted at appeal.

How long do I have to wait start the project?

Planning permission is normally granted for three years — which means you

Should start your project within this timeframe.

Can I amend my plans once Full permission has been granted?

You entitled to make minor alterations by applying for a non-material amendment.

What happens if I carry out works without planning permission?

It is illegal to convert or alter your basement without planning permission, If you have failed to get permission for your basement conversion project, then the local planning authority hold the rights to take action to have project demolished.

In this case, you can apply for retrospective planning application and if you will be refused you can appeal the decision.

There is a very slim chance: if you local authority did not take enforcement action within four years of basement conversion project completion, the development becomes lawful for change of use and immune from enforcement action (for 10 years). However this is too great a risk to take.

Altering a listed building without any permission is criminal offence, and in extreme cases it can lead to prosecution and unlimited fine charges — and even imprisonment. Please ensure to apply for this first before you start the work

When you don’t need planning permission

Some of the building projects will not require planning permission. This is known as permitted development rights’.

Building projects that normally have permitted development rights include:

  • industrial premises and warehouses – though there are somelimits and conditions
  • some outdoor signs and advertisements – though there arespecial rules around these
  • demolition – but before you begin you must get approval to demolish fromyour local planning authority

There are other projects that might not need planning permission, eg projects that will have no impact on your neighbours or the environment. If you think this could apply to your project, check with your Local Planning Authority.

If your building project benefits the local community, and the community supports it, you may not have to go through the normal planning permission process. Neighbourhood planning and Community Right to Build lets your community grant planning permission directly under certain circumstances.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/planning-permission-england-wales/when-you-dont-need-it

When you required building regulations approval

In general, Building Regulations apply to the construction of new buildings and to extensions and material alterations to buildings. In addition, certain parts of the Regulations apply to existing buildings where a material change of use takes place. Otherwise, Building Regulations do not apply to buildings constructed prior to 1 June, 1992.

You need to ensure if you need planning approval before you start you basement conversion project.

 basement conversion entertainment room

You might need building regulations approval and planning permission for basement conversion.

Work covered by building regulations

Our team here at APT Renovation cover the construction and conversion of basements to meet Building Regulations 2010.

You will need building regulations approval if you are planning to make alteration, which includes:

  • any structural work in basement conversion
  • replacing the main fuse boxes and connected electrics
  • installation of a fixed air-conditioning system
  • replacing the new windows and moving door fixtures
  • installation of boiler

Speak to our team if you are not sure, whether if you need approval.

Penalties and problems may arise if not careful measures taken

You need to make sure the work carried out on you project is fully comply with building regulations.

Without full approval of your alterations you won’t be able to sell your home.

Party walls and building work

Your neighbours should be notified if you are planning any type of building work near or on your shared property boundary, or ‘party wall’, in England and Wales.

Party walls usually between yourself any your neighbour and sometimes it can be more than 2 owners:

  • Party wall can be form part of a building
  • Party wall don’t form part of a building, such as a garden wall (not wooden fences)

Walls on one owner’s land used by other owners (2 or more) to separate their buildings are also party walls.

Party structures

You can also have a ‘party structure’. This could be a floor or other structure that separates buildings or parts of buildings with different owners, eg flats.

Party wall agreements are different from planning permission or building regulations approval.

If you are planning to start basement conversion project, you should comply with Party Walls Act  before you get started the work. You need to notify your neighbours of your plans and get their permission for your basement conversion. If you are planning to excavate the basement in terraced or semi-detached property then you will need to notify to your nearest adjoining owner to start the project of any excavation works to walls shared with them. APT Renovation team advices to serve correct notice in order for it to be valid. You may need to serve more than one notice.

Basement excavation works directly on a party wall

Basement conversion carried out on terraced or semi-detached property directly will affect a party wall on your neighbour both sides, which will require to serve a “Party wall structure notice”. During basement conversion you should highlight some examples of the work that you might need to describe in your notice may include:

  • extending a party wall downwards;
  • strengthening the foundation through underpinning the whole thickness of the party wall; and/or
  • cutting away projections such as original bricks.

Basement conversion works always require the use of special foundations. This type of foundations includes underpinning of beams and rods is for the purpose of distributing any load. If special foundations are planned to be placed, it is important to state it in the party walls notice, as it is unlawful to place special foundations under the adjoining owner’s land without their written consent.

When should you serve your party wall notice if you are planning to work directly on a party wall?

It is important to serve your party wall notice to your neighbours and adjoining owner as quickly as possible. You may only start the planned basement conversion work two months after your party wall structure notice is served to your neighbour.

Basement excavation work (three or six metres)

If you are planning to fit a basement excavation work in a detached property, at it is nearest three or six metres of the nearest neighbouring structure then you will be required to serve an “Excavation works notice” to your neighbour. The notice should include a description of your plans and any information regarding the following if they are a part of your plans:

  • digging out a basement; and/or
  • excavating below a party wall which is to be underpinned.

 

When should you serve your party wall notice if you plan to carry out excavation works?

You should serve your party wall notice at least one month in advance you start any excavation work. If you planning to start basement excavation earlier, you will need to make notice and obtain the adjoining owner’s consent in written form.

What to do if your neighbour ignores your notice?

APT Renovation advices you to discuss any plans you might have with basement conversion with your neighbour to fit a basement as early on in the process as possible. This will help to solve any concerns or questions your neighbour may have, in order to find out and to avoid neighbours withhold consent.

As per Wall Act notices, the adjoining owner holds full right to consent to any excavation or basement works, your neighbour may refuse consent, or not respond to it at all. If your neighbour is refusing consent, or not responding to your notice, it will clearly mean that your basement works may go into dispute, and the procedures for resolving disputes under the Act come into action.