The bungalow is back in fashion – we look at the reasons why

Bungalows in the United Kingdom are enjoying a revival, with prices increasing by 8.28% between 2021 and 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics’ House Price Index.

Once viewed as old-fashioned and strictly for retirees, the nostalgic charm of bungalows is now appealing to a wider demographic. High demand and limited supply gave them a price premium in 2023, and buyers’ enthusiasm is continuing into 2024. We look at why, and where, bungalows are going up in value.

Bungalows can offer open plan living which appeals to many housebuyers.

Why are bungalows so popular today?

They are appealing to a diverse range of buyers: young families, empty nesters, and millennials are drawn to the simplicity and functionality of single storey living. Bungalows are attracting a lot of social media interest: there have been over 100 million TikTok views of bungalow renovations and thousands of Instagram posts showing bungalow transformations that highlight their potential. Their nostalgic appeal combined with a modern twist has sparked a viral interest.

This popularity is down to several common features: bungalows are often detached, they provide easy access for everyone, and often offer open plan living that can be family-friendly despite the lack of a first floor. They can make a great single family dwelling, offering more space than other types of houses. They are low maintenance in terms of maintaining windows and roofs, and there’s only a single storey to heat.

Investment opportunity

From an investor point of view, bungalows can be relatively easy to add value to by converting the loft or adding a storey if planning permission can be obtained: their large, pitched roofs often offer great scope for extra bedrooms. Architects can see the potential for creativity within the single storey framework and can create some amazing contemporary designs. Developers are also alive to the possibility of demolishing an existing tired bungalow and rebuilding on the large, valuable plot.

As well as investors, the large plot aspect can offer families more space, which means that traditional buyers are also facing competition from younger buyers wanting to renovate or extend bungalows. As well as their square foot appeal, bungalows often offer more privacy; another benefit is that they generally sell quickly as there are so few on the market. For those attracted to sustainable living, bungalows are appealing as they need less energy to heat, making them an eco-conscious choice.

Social media influence

As well as the search term bungalow notching up more hits on search engines in the United Kingdom, social media is impacting our view of bungalows.

Estate agent Dan Lewis, MD of FreeAgent247 commented:

There are a lot of inspiring campaigns flying around on social media and Tik Tok specifically, which has certainly brought back a `cool’ factor to bungalows that perhaps wasn’t there back in the day! Bungalows are still at a premium: due to the nature of new build developments they still are not built in abundance.

The bungalows that are about are often older, and on larger plots, meaning the typical market for them has been opened up: they can appeal to younger couples, developers, as well as the typical downsizer market as they offer scope to refurbish, remodel, extend upwards and outwards due to plot sizes.

An attractive seaside bungalow with an attached garage.

Rising interest in single storey living

Search interest in bungalows has increased by 53% since 2004 according to Confused.com mortgages experts and as time progressed last year, demand shot up. The average bungalow price in 2021 was £314,000, rising by 8.28% from 2021 to 2022 when the average price reached £340,000. At the same time, the average price of all properties rose by 4.94%.

Claire Flynn, Confused.com mortgages expert, commented:

Bungalows have seen a revival in popularity in recent years. Between 2021 and 2022, bungalow prices rose by 8.28%, which is more than any other property type. The average price of a bungalow is cheaper than the average detached property too, at £340,000. A bungalow has fewer supporting walls, so owners could feel like they’re living open plan. Detached bungalows also offer an escape from noisy neighbours in semi-detached and terraced properties.

The average cost of a bungalow in the UK

In 2022 bungalows sold for an average price of £340,000, according to data from Confused.com mortgages, with a huge variance in price according to area. In 2022 in London the average price of a bungalow was £606,000, while Northern Ireland’s average price was £210,000.

Unsurprisingly, the most expensive place to buy a bungalow is in the south of England. Prices in the southeast average £482,000 and £389,000 in the southwest. The lowest prices can be found in the northeast, where they average £211,000, and Yorkshire and the Humber, £261,000.

RegionBungalow average price (2022)
London£606,000
South East£482,000
South West£389,000
East Of England£384,000
West Midlands£312,000
East Midlands£283,000
Wales£267,000
North West£266,000
Yorkshire And The Humber£261,000
Scotland£259,000
North East£211,000
Northern Ireland£210,000
  
United Kingdom£340,000
Source: Confused.com.

Bungalows vs other house types

While the average selling price of a traditional detached house is £500,000, making bungalows cheaper on average at £340,000, they are more expensive than other types of property such as semi-detached and terraced houses which are priced at £298,000 and £279,000 respectively, while flats or maisonettes are priced at an average of £273,000.

In London and the east of England, average bungalow prices are less than average home prices. In the east, the average bungalow is 3.5% cheaper than other property types; in London they are 1.3% cheaper. In Scotland and the west midlands, bungalows are 12.6% more expensive than average house prices.

Average house prices, 2022
RegionBungalowDetachedSemi-detachedTerracedFlat or Maisonette in converted housePurpose-built Flat or MaisonetteAll dwellings
London£606,000£1,207,000£770,000£739,000£466,000£446,000£614,000
South East£482,000£749,000£431,000£349,000£244,000£237,000£452,000
South West£389,000£532,000£320,000£278,000£212,000£202,000£347,000
East Of England£384,000£594,000£375,000£321,000£231,000£232,000£398,000
West Midlands£312,000£438,000£247,000£200,000£147,000£149,000£277,000
East Midlands£283,000£396,000£226,000£194,000£139,000£138,000£271,000
Wales£267,000£383,000£220,000£174,000£147,000£149,000£241,000
North West£266,000£408,000£236,000£171,000£163,000£163,000£248,000
Yorkshire And The Humber£261,000£389,000£209,000£173,000£143,000£141,000£237,000
Scotland£259,000£352,000£212,000£179,000£158,000£171,000£230,000
North East£211,000£313,000£175,000£142,000£118,000£113,000£197,000
Northern Ireland£210,000£291,000£172,000£124,000£133,000£126,000£192,000
        
United Kingdom£340,000£500,000£298,000£279,000£273,000£287,000£340,000
Source: Confused.com.

Changes to bungalow prices

Average house prices in the UK have risen at an annualised rate of 6.44% a year since 1986, according to Confused.com, and bungalows have risen at an annualised rate of 5.98% in the same period. Over the last 10 years, bungalows have risen in price at an annualised rate of 4.4%; flats and maisonettes have risen by 2.09%, and detached houses by 3.6%. The rise in bungalow prices has been higher since 2017, at an annualised rate of 5.11%.

Bungalows have seen increased demand over the last year. In 2021 the average price for a bungalow was £314,000 rising by 8.28% from 2021 – 2022 when the average price reached £340,000. At the same time, the average price of all property rose by 4.94%. Detached houses rose by 8.23%; semi-detached and terraced houses rose by 6.81% and 5.68% respectively while flats and maisonettes fell by 0.36%.

Compound annual growth rate since 1986
TimelineBungalowDetachedSemi-detachedTerracedFlat or Maisonette in converted housePurpose-built Flat or MaisonetteAll dwellings
Since 19865.98%6.17%6.30%6.59%5.71%6.38%6.44%
Since 20124.40%3.60%3.37%3.44%2.09%3.17%3.29%
Since 20175.11%5.09%4.34%4.21%2.70%1.46%3.96%
Since 20218.28%8.23%6.81%5.68%-0.36%5.90%4.94%
Source: Confused.com.

Finding a bungalow

This is a challenge: while huge numbers of bungalows and chalet bungalows were built in coastal areas during the 1920s and 1930s, in recent years, developers have shunned them as they are not space efficient. Due to the pressure on land, developers tend to build the maximum amount of units on a plot, and there is more profit in building multi-storey properties.

The area with the highest percentage of bungalows in the UK is rural East Lindsey in the east Midlands, where over 33% of the total properties are bungalows. Broadland in Norfolk has the second highest percentage of bungalows at 31%, followed by Tendring on the northeast Essex coast, where bungalows make up 30% of the housing stock.

Final thoughts

The demand for bungalows reflects our changing lifestyles and values – their simplicity, charm, and sustainability appear to be capturing the hearts of a new generation. Today’s scarcity of housing stock, combined with a chronic under-supply of bungalows, has made them more expensive than other house types in the same area. With investors and families now putting bungalows and single storey living firmly in their sights along with traditional buyers, the battle to buy is underway and their prices look set on an upward trajectory.

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