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20 Feb 2021

Can you afford to move to a bigger home?

The cost of buying a detached house increased by £43,000 in 2020

The price of detached homes has soared by 10% in the space of a year, with buyers now paying a £200,000 premium to upsize to a bigger property.

New research by Halifax has found that detached properties are rising in cost significantly more quickly than flats, terraced houses and semi-detached homes.

Here, Which? explains why bigger properties have become more popular, and analyses how much you might need to spend to upsize to a larger home in 2021.

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Prices of detached houses rise by 10% in 2020

The average cost of detached properties in the UK increased by £43,000 last year.

This means that buyers looking for a detached home must now pay an average of £487,000 - that's 10% more than just 12 months ago.

The table below shows how detached houses have risen in cost compared with other types of property.

Type of propertyAverage price2020 increase (£)2020 increase (%)

Source: Halifax

The cost of upsizing

Halifax's research shows how the cost of stepping up the housing ladder increases with each rung.

Homeowners living in flats spend an average of £56,000 to upsize to a terraced home, while those in terraced properties spend £85,000 to move to semi-detached homes.

The step between a semi-detached and detached home is the toughest to tackle, with buyers needing to spend £199,000 more to secure a bigger property.

Ongoing rises in house prices are making it even more difficult for upsizers. Halifax says house prices for existing home movers rose by 6.4% in 2020, compared with 4.5% for first-time buyers.

How much do bigger homes cost in your region?

Halifax's researched focused on UK averages, but the amount you'll pay when upsizing varies significantly depending on where you live.

We've used data from the Land Registry to crunch the average prices paid by homebuyers purchasing different types of houses around the UK (equivalent data is not available for Northern Ireland).

You can use the interactive chart below to find out how much you might need to pay to move to a bigger home in your region.

Why are detached houses becoming more expensive?

House prices are rising on all types of home, but there are a couple of reasons why the cost of bigger properties is increasing so much more quickly.

COVID-19 and the future of home working

First of all, the pandemic - and the prospect of a new way of working in the future - has affected homebuyer priorities.

Buyers are increasingly looking to move away from expensive cities in search of a better quality of life and more space.

This has been led by the likelihood that many workers will only need to commute into their office once or twice a week in the future, giving them the freedom to move further away.

The stamp duty holiday

The government's temporary cut to stamp duty is also likely to be a major factor.

The tax break means that buyers in England and Northern Ireland can save up to £15,000 when they move home - with the maximum savings on offer to those purchasing a property for £500,000 or more.

This may have led to more buyers stretching their finances to seek out a larger 'forever' home sooner than they might have originally planned.

row of houses

What's going to happen to house prices in 2021?

With uncertainty around the pandemic and the stamp duty cut set to come to an end on 31 March, it's a complicated time to buy a home.

Some experts believe house prices will drop in the short term, while others think the market will remain stable throughout the year.

Then there's the question of mortgage availability, which has been improving of late but remains poor compared to before the pandemic.

We discussed all of these issues and more in this week's Which? Money Podcast, which you can listen to below.

How to find the best place to live

If you're looking to move home in 2021, it's important to do your research to find somewhere that ticks all the boxes without busting your budget.

Our guide to finding the best place to live includes advice on comparing towns, including tips on how to spot whether an area is up and coming or over the hill.

In addition, why not check out our stories on the happiest places to live in Great Britain, the most popular places to buy a home in 2020 and the most affordable towns for first-time buyers.