The growing trend of digging underground: Why more homeowners are opting for basement extensions

More and more of us are looking for innovative ways to extend our properties instead of going through the hassle, expense and upheaval of moving. Going underground and renovating basements into liveable, stylish spaces, is proving to be one of the most popular ways to extend properties in the UK.

Recent research from the mortgage lender Halifax shows planning applications for basement conversions have risen by an incredible 183%, experiencing the most rapid growth in domestic extension trends.

Halifax evaluated data from throughout England, Wales and Scotland for a four-year period, from January 2012 until December 2016. The mortgage lender found that the planning applications for basements had increased significantly, particularly in London where space in many properties is often scarce and ‘digging down’ is a viable extension option.

The data found that during 2016, the number of basement extension planning applications came to 3,064. This contrast with 2012, where the total was just 1,084. The 16 councils with the highest number of basement planning applications were all boroughs of London.

Extending upwards is also on the rise. Halifax’s data found the number of loft conversion applications had increased from 34,822 in 2012 to 49,649 in 2016.

The growing trend to renovate a basement into a liveable space is hailed as marking a shift in the way modern homes are being lived in. As Melanie Backe-Hansen, a historian and author of House Histories, told The Guardian:

“[Basement conversions] represent a big shift in the way we think about our homes. If we look back to Georgian and Victorian times, the basement is where you’d have found the kitchen and the servants’ quarters, and was certainly not viewed as a space to be used for family life.”

The rise in basement and attic extensions have been pinned on the climbing cost of property and the additional costs when moving home, such as stamp duty and estate agency fees. Creating more space in an existing home is becoming an increasingly more attractive option to buying a new property and moving.

If you are thinking about joining the growing number of homeowners deciding to dig down in their properties and create a stylish, liveable space in the basement, contact Arti Construction.

Arti Construction are experts in maximising the space below a property. We provide a one-stop solution for basement conversions, including structural, underpinning, waterproofing and internal finishes.