Homebuyers opt for modern kitchens in ‘Mary Berry Effect’

Research from OnTheMarket.com finds a modern or open plan kitchen is the feature most likely to make a home more desirable to buyers. And some estate agents say this is because of popular TV cookery shows and the influence of chefs.

In a consumer poll across 2,000 adults, 43% said when viewing a property, a modern kitchen was ‘more desirable’ because they had been influenced by TV chefs and cookery shows and wanted to spend more time in the kitchen as a result.*

28% of agents said a modern kitchen was the one feature most likely to prove attractive to potential buyers. Meanwhile, 23% of agents chose a driveway or off-street parking, 17% an open plan kitchen/diner and 14% a back garden.

Other features chosen as ‘most desirable’ to buyers were an en-suite in the master bedroom, neutral painted walls, fast internet connection, a conservatory, a front garden and real wooden floors.

The data was gathered from more than 500 estate and letting agents across the UK.

According to some agents, a modern kitchen could add up to £50,000 to the value of a property and the majority said it could add between £4,000 and £5,000, depending on the property’s overall value and size.

Agents who said a modern kitchen was the most likely feature to make a home more desirable were mainly based in the South East.

Martin Flashman, Partner at Martin Flashman & Co, which has branches in Weybridge and Walton in Surrey, said: “Whilst the kitchen has always been a central part of the British home, its popularity amongst buyers and tenants has increased, triggered in part by the surge in culinary TV programmes.

“Buyers are particular about kitchens, their existing facilities and the ability to extend them – you could call this the ‘Mary Berry Effect’.

“Families are now spending more time in the kitchen, cooking together, baking (of course) and generally being foodies.”

Nick Guy, Director of Martin & Co, based at the Reigate branch, said: “The explosion of TV cookery shows has led to more people experimenting with food and pushed thekitchen to the forefront of a tenant’s/buyer’s mind when they view a property. Everyone likes to picture themselves cooking impressive meals among family and friends.

“Buying a new home represents an investment in a certain lifestyle and for some, having a top-of-the-range kitchen with a ‘wow-factor’ is part of this.

“It is true that this is the room that can often make or break a property deal.”

Helen Whiteley, Commercial Director at OnTheMarket.com, said: “Our data was gathered from over 500 estate and letting agents across the UK, which forms a powerful barometer of the tastes of homeowners and the rental market.

“Given the popularity of programmes such as the Great British Bake Off, it’s no surprise that kitchens have become more of a focus for homeowners and tenants.”

23% of agents said off-street parking was most likely to make a property ‘more desirable’ to buyers, making it the second most popular choice. The majority of these agents suggested the facility could add £10,000 to £20,000 in value, depending on the property’s overall value and size. Agents who chose this option were mainly from the South East, Wales and the Midlands.

Brian Thomas, from Ferriers Estate Agents, which covers Mid/West Glamorgan in Wales, said the appeal of off-street parking was no longer confined to big cities.

“Some of our potential buyers and tenants will not even consider looking at a property if it doesn’t have off-street parking.

“Most families now have at least two cars, so off-street parking is high on their wish list. For this reason it can add around 10% to 15% to the value of a property.”

14% of agents said a back garden was the feature to make a property ‘more desirable’ to buyers. These agents mainly came from the South East, London and the South West. The majority of agents who chose a back garden as the feature most likely to make a home more desirable to buyers said it could add up to £20,000 to the value of a home, depending on the size, location and overall value of the property.

In the lettings market, agents also said a modern kitchen (chosen by 36% of letting agents), a driveway or off-street parking (18%) were the features most likely to make a property more desirable to potential tenants.

Other answers included neutral decoration, an en-suite to the master bedroom, a back garden, an open plan kitchen/diner, fast internet connection, carpeted floors and a bathroom with both a shower and a bath.

Agents were mainly from the South East who chose a modern kitchen, followed by the Midlands and the North East. Those who chose a driveway or off-street parking were mostly from the South East, followed by the South West and the Midlands.

And those who chose neutral coloured walls were mainly from the South East, followed by the Midlands and then London. Many letting agents felt these features could add between £100 to £200 per calendar month to the rental value of a property, depending on the size and overall value of the property, but the majority felt the value would be under £100.

*Consumer poll conducted by One Poll across 2,000 UK adults between August 19 and 21.

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