With house prices at record highs, thousands of families are unable to find a new home that suits them at a price they can afford. But a growing number are hitting on an unusual solution: giving up part of their garden to build a home for a family member.
More than a third of homeowners would consider building a new home in their garden, according to a recent survey by specialist lender Together. Of these, over 40 per cent would do so to create a permanent home for a family member.
Even more could be tempted after the Government launched a new £150million Help to Build scheme last month. As many as 40,000 households are expected to benefit from the plan each year, which offers Government loans to put towards a deposit to build a new home.
Neighbours: How David Kirby’s new house will look in the garden of his existing home in the Wirral, which he is selling to his son Tom and family
The Kirbys are one such family who have taken the plunge. David Kirby, 65, is approaching retirement and lives in a five-bedroom house in the Wirral that he built 30 years ago. His six children have flown the nest, leaving him living alone in a large property.
Meanwhile, a mile and a half down the road, his son Tom, 34, is struggling to find a good-sized, affordable family home for himself and his wife, Alice, and three boys Ralph, six, Hugh, four, and Rex, two.
The solution? David is selling his home to his son and his young family. That will release cash that he will part use to build a beautiful home at the other end of his large garden.
‘My father gets on with his neighbours, likes the area and wants to stay here,’ says Tom. ‘But his house no longer suits him. We live nearby, but need somewhere with more space. This is the perfect answer.’
There is a plot of land at the side of David’s garden, which had previously been overlooked because it has a stream running along it and high water levels.
But Tom and David have worked with engineering company Sutcliffe to come up with a design that cantilevers David’s new house above the flood plain. ‘That way we keep the main garden intact, which my dad has worked so hard over the years to improve,’ says Tom.