There is a ‘B’ word so offensive to some estate agents that they dare not speak its name — bungalow.
Heaven knows why, but these classically British homes are considered a byword for boring by most of the shiny suit and clipboard brigade.
Just look in brochures and you will find them described as ‘properties with lateral space’ or, the latest, ‘barngalows’.
But why? People today love a good bungalow. ‘They have definitely seen a revival in popularity,’ says Vanessa Hale, head of insights at Strutt & Parker.
Totally transformed: An extended and modernised 1960s bungalow in Wiltshire – these classically British homes are rising in price
‘Our latest Housing Futures survey shows that 22 per cent of those looking to move in the next five years are seeking a bungalow.’
Andrea Robertson, 61, and her husband Dennis, 73, are typical converts to bungalow living.
Just 18 months ago they moved from a large granite house on the banks of the River Dee, Aberdeen, to a two-bedroom bungalow costing £325,000 on Dandara’s Hazelwood development four miles away.
‘Our old property needed a new roof and there was a lot of work to be done,’ says Andrea. ‘The new house doesn’t require constant maintenance, our utility bills are cheaper and we also save on council tax and home insurance.’
It is wrong to assume, however, that bungalows appeal solely to the baby boomer generation.
‘Younger people see their advantages, too,’ says Carol Peett of West Wales Property Finders. ‘They are actively looking for them because they are ideal for young families.’
Bungalows are often built on large plots, with sizeable gardens where children can play and if it is an estate of bungalows, they won’t be overlooked by neighbours.
Many of the revamped, modernised bungalows have large open-plan kitchen/ diners with bi-fold doors, ideal for family life.
‘Younger people see their advantages, too. They are actively looking for them because they are ideal for young families.’
Carol Peett – West Wales Property Finders
The Lodge in Suton, Norfolk, is a prime example. The red-brick exterior isn’t promising, but inside it is all high-tech gloss.
The open-plan reception rooms appear drenched in light thanks to internal glass block walls, there is under-floor heating and there’s a Duovac central vacuum system. The Lodge is for sale with Strutt & Parker at £825,000.
There are still some of the much satirised 1950s bungalows to be found with ceramic flying ducks on the walls and faded flowery wallpaper, but today these sell quickly as renovation projects.
Any novice developer looking to make a quick profit could hardly do better than set about ‘doing up’ an old-fashioned bungalow.
Rightmove statistics show that in the last year the average price of a single- storey home increased by 10.5 per cent, while other types of homes appreciated by only 6.3 per cent.
How to go about it? ‘Many bungalows come on the market as probate sales,’ says Bill Spreckley, of Stacks Property Search. ‘
A good lateral extension with open plan designs inside is likely to show a good return.
‘Invest in energy efficiency — plenty of roof space is great for solar panels.
‘Landscape the garden and look at ways of hiding car parking and adding character to a bland plot.’
It is doubtful if anyone has ever undertaken a bungalow renovation on the scale of 76-year-old businessman David Lodge’s home outside Sedgefield in County Durham.
He bought a battered old gamekeeper’s cottage in 14 acres from a farmer for £150,000 in 1999.
Over the next 15 years he transformed it, building an office suite, a gym and a huge pool.
The property, which has a distinctly colonial look, is now on the market for £1.5million.
Anyone hoping to emulate Mr Lodge should consider The Bungalow, Beck Street, Hepworth.
Dating from 1927, this charming cottage standing in seven acres of Suffolk countryside is trapped in a time warp.
In the garden, there is a Nissen hut from a nearby airfield which was used by American forces as a post office during World War II.
Planning permission has yet to be applied for but Emmerson Dutton, partner at Bedfords estate agent, is confident it would be granted if there were no plans to build above the roof line.
Sadly, the old house also comes with drawbacks — it has no water, electricity or drainage system.
‘Anyone installing big glass doors to make the most of the views and a modern kitchen could make a good profit,’ says Dutton who is selling the property for £595,000. ‘Bungalows are extremely popular again in this area.’
On the market… all on one level
Hampshire: There are three bedrooms in this home which has an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. The property is in Sway, near Lymington. Winkworth.co.uk, 01590 642 641. £695,000
Cornwall: Near Callington, this development is a collection of two, three and four-bedroom homes. Several of them are bungalows. Bakerestatesltd. co.uk, 01626 241 404. From £314,995
Hampshire: This three-bedroom bungalow is in Fleet and is near some excellent walking trails. The rear garden has a patio area. Hamptons.co.uk, 01252 216 577. £775, 000