Property news roundup: What is the best way to add value to your home?

Plus #tinyhousetuesday, home cloning, bland houses, new mortgage rule effect and 2015 house sales

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The Independent Online

Half of estate agents say adding an extra bedroom – usually by converting loft space – is the best way of adding value to a property.

However, according to the report from the National Association of Estate Agents, just over a third of agents said that making the kitchen bigger was the key change. Only four per cent argued that adding a conservatory would add the most value, three per cent suggested adding a garage and a further three per cent recommended converting a garage into living space.

Tiny House Tuesday

If you're interested in microarchitecture and smaller, perfectly formed homes, then take a look at  #tinyhousetuesday on Twitter. Every week, people post their thoughts and images of small homes in the UK (and around the world). Among those featured is the one bedroom 'house' pictured above in Dalston, Cumbria for sale with H&H King at £45,000.  It's a small detached brick building, around 10sqm and a former transmitter repeater station with planning permission to convert to a holiday home.

Effect of new mortgage rules

A poll of more than 2,000 people by suggests the new MMR mortgage rules will have an effect on mortgage applications. Nearly half said they thought their lifestyle and spending habits would not make them a desirable mortgage applicant following the changes. 

Housing market activity

Around five per cent of UK householders plan to buy a property in the next year, according to a survey for Knight Frank. Around 17 per cent say they have no plans to buy at any stage in the future.

"The data suggests that around 1.35 million households are planning to buy a residence in the next year, highlighting the rising demand for housing across the country," said Gráinne Gilmore, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank. "If all potential purchasers were to achieve a sale, this would mark an 18 per cent rise in transactions over the next 12 months."

The survey indicates that demand for property in the East of England will be among the strongest across the country in the next year, followed by the East Midlands. Those in the North East of England and Scotland appear to be the least likely to be moving home before April 2015.

Stop bland houses

John McCall Architects has created a guide for property owners to prevent UK towns becoming bland and losing their identities.

It is aimed at people looking to take advantage of the government’s External Wall Insulation scheme and focuses in particular on the use of cladding.

Director of John McCall Architects, Colin Usher, said: "It is vital in large schemes that we don’t end up with a mass of properties covered in cladding and towns that all look the same. We’ve some fantastic architecture in the UK and it needs preserving.  

"Unfortunately we’ve seen examples of cladding being applied where intricate features such as window tracery and lintels have been lost due to the poor execution of the work."

Where do you get your ideas from?

Three quarters of people get their home interiors ideas from homes of friends, around one in ten are inspired by television programmes, and around 10 per cent are most influenced by interior magazines/websites.

The study by online furniture retailer Sengtai showed that more than half of the 2,000 people polled had based the design of a room like one they had seen at the home of a friend. One in ten had even taken a photo of it without asking permission.