Which design features will buyers pay the most for?

Property developers can achieve significant price premiums for residential developments by incorporating the most sought-after design features into their architectural plans.

Related topics:  Premium,  Design,  Architecture
Property | Reporter
6th March 2024
Bi Fold Doors 778
"Why are so many developers, when given the honour of making their own mark on this prestigious city canvas, satisfied with erecting red brick flats with PVC windows?"
- Thomas Balashev - Monta Capital

New research from Monta Capital analysed ten design and architectural features that luxury developers can include in residential properties in order to increase sale value and maximise the returns on their investment.

The estimated percentage premium has been related to the current average house price in order to calculate what kind of cash premiums developers can expect from each design feature.

The research reveals that bi-folding doors offer the biggest value-add for developers, commanding an estimated price premium of 7%. Based on the latest average house price of £284,691 (UK House Price Index Dec 2023), this is a cash add-on of £19,928.

Open plan living may be a design innovation born of the 1950s, but it remains immensely popular with homebuyers, so much so that open plan design commands an estimated price premium of 6%, or £17,081.

The same is true for another seemingly outdated feature, the conservatory, with buyers willing to pay an additional 6% for a room that joins the home to the garden.

Buyers are also willing to pay a premium for those small touches of class that transform a bog-standard home into a place of beauty. If developers add fine woodwork and hardwood floors into a home, it will create a premium of 5%, equivalent to £14,235.

Despite the widespread understanding that open fires in the home are a menace to the environment, buyers are still keen to have one in their homes. The inclusion of an open fireplace or a wood burner adds an estimated 4.5% (£12,811) to the property value.

Meanwhile, eco-friendly design features such as solar panels, organic gardens, and sustainable construction materials not only improve personal and planetary health but also command a price premium of 4% (£11,388).

Other design features to add a price premium to the home include patio outdoor space (3.8%), oversized windows (3%), period features (2.5%), and a landscaped garden (1.4%).

Thomas Balashev, Chief Executive of Monta Capital, comments: “As a London developer, I look around this city in awe of the architectural legacy we are lucky enough to have. We have structures dating back to the Romans, then a bounty of masterpieces from the Georgians and Victorians. We have some of the best architectural practices on the globe, and some of the best, most adventurously conceived skyscrapers in the world.

"As a city, we have been pushing the boundaries of design, from bridges to hotels, for generations and we are all that much wealthier for it. People travel from across the world to see our buildings. It is an almighty legacy.

“So why are so many developers, when given the honour of making their own mark on this prestigious city canvas, satisfied with erecting red brick flats with PVC windows? It lacks all respect for the great work that has come before and, as this new data reveals, it doesn't even make financial sense to skimp on quality, creativity, and design.

“London’s finest buildings are the architectural equivalent of a Michelin star meal, the finest ingredients constructed with the finest technique. So why are we letting so many developers come along and toss a handful of McDonald’s fries onto the plate?”

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