The value of single-storey homes is on the rise and no longer the preserve of older people. By Sophie Morris


Craig Johnson and Simon Hunter (inset, from left) say the value of their bungalow is up by almost £300,000

After nearly two decades living in London, the main reason I pictured myself moving to a new life by the seaside was the house that we found: a red-brick Edwardian semi on a street lined with period properties. It was the only house I was interested in out of everything we viewed, because it was five minutes from the station, and crucially, resembled the Victorian streets of the capital I was reluctantly waving goodbye to.

At the time, my husband kept making (what I thought were) jokes about looking at bungalows, which were in more ready supply in this quaint coastal town. But any mention of them gave me nightmares about how my husband envisioned our future.

We were still in our 30s, so why was he suggesting a retirement property? The town itself was already known as a destination for older residents and I was far from ready to slide into my slippers so chose steep stairs instead of a one-storey home on a large plot.

How short-sighted I was. Today I’d give anything for the generous proportions and mid-century design of many bungalows.

The name “bungalow” comes from a Hindi word meaning “a house in the Bengali style”, and they were introduced here by the architect John Taylor, who built Britain’s first bungalows in 1869 and 1870 in Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, just up the coast from me.

No wonder they’re hot property in 2024 - a time when house sales are stagnant. Data from

Rightmove show increases in bungalow sales in almost all areas of the UK in April 2024 compared with April 2023, with eight or nine per cent rises in the West Midlands, the North East, the North West and London. Only the South West had a drop, with a minuscule fall of 0.24 per cent.

According to estate agency Hamptons, the value of bungalows has increased by 22 per cent on average since 2020, while other properties have gone up by 15 per cent. Zoopla reports that bungalows are making more money for anyone selling a home than any other property type apart from traditional detached houses - an average gain of £102,000 or £13,100 a year (the average price for a bungalow in the UK is £362,445).

Craig Johnson, 30, and Simon Hunter, 35, paid a little more than the average - £385,000 - for their property on the outskirts of Edinburgh in 2020. “We both grew up in single-storey homes,” says Johnson. “Edinburgh is known for its bungalows and they’re sought after because they’re so versatile. They’re usually detached and offer the flexibility to make a home really your own.”

The couple, who have a 10-month-old baby, maintained the one-level living but built the building out to the front, back and side, transforming a 2.5-bedroom house into a three- to four-bedroom property, with three doubles, two en suite bathrooms, a further bedroom, study or playroom, and an open-plan kitchen and living area with breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside.

“We’re definitely the youngest on our street by about 10 years,” says Johnson. “But the market for bungalows is shifting, certainly in Edinburgh.”

But renovations don’t come cheap and Johnson and Hunter, who run a dance school together, began work in the summer of 2020, when cost and competition for materials and tradespeople were soaring.

“It went to plan for the most part,” says Johnson. “The extension was accounted for in the budget of £180,000. But we ended up going over-budget because while we were doing so much work, we decided to also renovate the existing space.”

Their home increased from 100m2 to 160m2, and the extra interior work cost another £100,000. They had it revalued two years ago and it came in at £600,000, which they estimate now would be closer to £650,000.

Bungalows also offer far more than practicalities. The design, if done right, can bring with it the promise of a sought-after lifestyle in, say, Palm Springs, or a lush tropical island like Hawaii. “Bungalows themselves may not sound sexy,” admits Holly Titford, appraisals manager for estate agent The Modern House. “But if you look at some of their key attributes, they are evocative of a highly romantic and much coveted lifestyle.

“Mid-century modernism saw a flurry of exceptional ‘bungalows’ which placed an emphasis on lateral living and became synonymous with a kind of California cool.

“They are often characterised by generous glazing, large room sizes, and connectivity to gardens and between internal spaces. Perhaps if we called them single-storey houses people might feel differently!”

Fiona Duffy, who offers courses to home development rookies through her business Fifi McGee, said: “I think bungalow renovations are one of the best renovation investments in the UK. They’re usually built on fairly spacious plots with space to extend into the front, side or back gardens, and have a garage and driveway and even the potential to add a second floor.”

Prices are rising because new demographics are turning to bungalows as stylish family homes they can put their own stamp on.

This means that those in their 20s and 30s are engaging in bidding wars with retired people, pushing prices up. But there are still bargains to be found.

When creative director Pip Jolley, 34, and her partner Daniel Spencer, 38, a video and audio producer, found their bungalow in Ramsgate, Kent, in February 2023, their offer of £400,000 - £50,000 below the asking price - was accepted.

“We didn’t necessarily set out to choose a bungalow,” explains Jolley. “We love mid-century houses and it just so happened that one came up in the area we were looking.

“The house hasn’t really had much done to it since the 80s, so it needed a lot of updating. So far we have done two bedrooms and the bathroom, all of which we have aimed to keep a mid-century feel to, including keeping the original primrose yellow bathroom suite.

“The great thing about bungalows is because everything is all on one level you can play around with the uses of the rooms. For instance, we turned the dining room into another bedroom. Bungalows also really lend themself to openplan living, which is something that we really love. We also found that bungalows tend to have bigger plots of land, and that was the case with us, so there is potential to extend.”

So why are bungalows in such short supply?

“Bungalows take up the same footprint as a house but often with half the accommodation, and people tend to buy on bedroom numbers,” says property expert Jonathan Rolande, founder of Home Sale Hub.

“We stopped building them in the 1970s when developers began to wonder why they were bothering. But supply and demand is a big factor. Bungalows are generally in nicer areas, neighbours might be older and have fewer cars - one instead of three - meaning the neighbourhood is quieter.”

Is there still a stigma attached to bungalow living? They fit the bill for all kinds of buyer, from the retired downsizer or holiday home buyer to young professionals and families. Maybe once you fall in love with them, you never want to live with stairs again.

My great-aunt and uncle moved into their new street in a suburb of Bury, Greater Manchester, after they married in the 1950s. They were still there when they both died shortly before the pandemic, and many of their best friends and neighbours were those who had bought their bungalows as newbuilds at the same time.

Unsurprisingly, their home, with its huge corner plot, was sold onwards to a young family.