What Is An Annexe And How Can It Help My Family?


We frequently meet people who ask the question, “What is an annexe?” when we tell them what we do.

And it’s a great question.

We often say “we put Mums and Dads in gardens” as a way of explaining what an annexe is and how they can help people in multiple ways. One of which we covered in last week’s article about downsizing. 

An annexe in the eyes of your Local Planning Authority is what they would call ancillary accommodation to the main house.

It’s typically a one or two bedroom mobile home that a family member can live in provided you can successfully obtain either Planning Permission or a Certificate of Lawfulness for it

So to help answer the question “What is an annexe?” in more detail we thought we’d share just some of the ways annexes are having a positive impact on family life in the UK today. 

Whether you are young, old or somewhere in between, or if you have a commercial venture in mind, like a guest lodge business or a B&B, annexes are providing multiple solutions and helping families all over the UK find alternative, affordable solutions to sky-high UK house prices.

Here are 5 of the most common ways in which people just like you are using annexes every day to solve a variety of problems linked to the rising cost of UK houses or Care Home costs.

1. Freeing Up Equity & Downsizing

We frequently see people who have lived in their homes for 40 or 50 years having bought it for under £5,000.

In today’s UK property market, the average home value according to Government data was £229,431 in May 2019.

So the number one reason we see people looking at annexe living is to free up equity and live in a family member’s garden.

This is not to be confused with the well advertised equity release schemes

Which refers to a range of products that let you access the equity (cash) tied up in your home if you are over the age of 55.

These involve either a lifetime mortgage secured against your property whilst retaining ownership or what is called home reversion where you sell part or all of your home in return for a lump sum payment.

You can read more about these schemes by clicking here.

For most annexe owners, freeing up equity by selling their home and releasing the equity themselves is a better option as they stay 100% in control of their money.

They usually have surplus equity to help family members out too which is sometimes used to enhance or extend the main house in addition to buying the annexe.

Annexes offer the most affordable option when compared to buying a smaller property potentially saving tens of thousands of pounds.

The average cost of an annexe is under £100,000 which in today’s UK property market makes them very affordable.

You can also make use of the Inheritance Tax Gifting 7 Year Rule and save you and your loved ones up to 40% in Inheritance Tax. (Read all about the 7 year rule by clicking here,)

If you are thinking about annexe living, then why not download our Ultimate Guide to Building an Annexe in Your Garden.

2. Elderly Care Or Disability

Age concern is always one of the main reasons we see people looking at annexe living.

With Care Home costs averaging at around £27,000 to £39,000 per year for a residential care home and if nursing care is required this increases to £35,000 to £55,000 per year.

Care Home Costs can be as much as £1500 per week and that’s in 2019. You can read more care home costs on the UK Care Guide website by clicking here.

So for many more families today than ever before, annexe living makes sense both in terms of elderly care needs (being close to hand when needed) and financially as annexes typically “pay for themselves” within two years when compared to current Care Home costs.

Another consideration is adaptability for disabilities or wheelchair access.

All annexe bathrooms can be adapted with grab rails and seats in showers etc and by allowing extra space for wheelchair access and mobility there is no need to fit things retrospectively.

When it comes to annexe living versus Care Home living there are a lot of very personal decisions that need to be made which will be different for every family.

Financially though few could argue that annexes make far greater savings in the long run, especially as you can still get home care assistance if required.

3. First Time Buyers As An Alternative To Renting

As house prices have risen over the years so have the challenges for young people looking for a way to buy a home of their own.

It’s hard to see a more damaging prospect than to ignore what is a significant issue for many of us with millennial children or for single adults, single parents or single incomes of any kind to ever be able to afford a home of their own.

Even with a deposit, help to buy or shared ownership it is still an uphill struggle that many young people face.

Add to that the pressure of living with parents for another decade or so and you can quite quickly see how an annexe is a popular solution to the problem.

We have 3 models aimed at keeping the cost of a one bedroom annexe within reach:-

  1. The Accolade (from £81,892)
  2. The Harleigh (from £99,847)
  3. The Sonata (from £100,915)

You will need good access to your back garden for one of these mobile home annexes as they will arrive in one unit or in two halves to be reassembled on site.

For most parents with young adults helping them to get a place of their own and avoid paying rent for life is a motivating factor when it comes to annexe living.

It can also become an asset to the main house if circumstances change in the future or as elderly care in years to come.

4. Coping With One Of Life’s Hurdles Such As Redundancy, Or A Marriage Break Up

We also see quite a few annexe owners who have already had a house of their own at some point.

They might have been married or living with their partner but due to a change in circumstance they suddenly found themselves single again and looking at the option of moving back in with Mum & Dad.

With today’s cost of living being as high as it is, two incomes are almost always better than one.

And even though you may have a property to sell, you might not have much equity left after the property is sold and divided up and all the fees involved are paid.

You can then find yourself facing all of the same issues young people face today when it comes to owing a home of your own again.

Only with more pressure on you because you might feel like you are taking a giant step backwards.

Or there may be young children involved.

Annexes offer a great alternative to renting or living back home with Mum and Dad if you have a garden big enough to build an annexe in and a budget of around £90,000 – £110,000.

For more and more people in the UK today housing is no longer seen as an investment. It’s become more of a place you can simply call home and with a budget of less than £250,000 your choices are very limited.

We’ve successfully built annexes for several single parents who are thrilled to be living independently to family members yet close to them when they need their help and support.

The annexe can always be used to help another member of the family in the future or become an asset to the main house.

5. Commercial Guest Lodges

Commercial Guest Lodges are an increasingly larger part of our market and our residential mobile home annexe range is perfect for the commercial guest lodge market and vice versa.

A lot of us tend to take several shorter holidays every year nowadays rather than the traditional big 2 week holiday that was more popular several years ago.

Whether it’s been helped along by cheaper flights, better accommodation and good food being more widely available or just “trying to keep up with the virtual Jones’s on Facebook,” our lifestyles today demand more leisure time and more frequent breaks than ever before.

So if you have a small plot of land, or own a golf club, fishery or farm land and are looking to diversify, setting up a Guest Lodge business can yield a significant return on your investment.

And of course if you are looking for a holiday home that you can also sub-let, Guest Lodges can potentially provide you with surplus income when you sub-let your lodge throughout the year.

Guest Lodges like the ones we supply make perfect annexes for both commercial uses and as an annexe in a garden.

They are all manufactured to BS 3632 and are suitable for year round living. And with so many styles and sizes to choose from, you are literally spoilt for choice!


As always we look forward to your thoughts and comments below or join in the conversation on our Facebook Page! Use The Contact Us Page To Email Us With Your Enquiry

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