The market for garden rooms and buildings was worth an estimated £110m at retail prices in 2012, including value added services such as installation. Market sectors have become polarised, with most demand at the lower and higher ends of the sector.
There are 3 main types of garden buildings: modular garden rooms, accounting for an estimated 42% of the market by value, log cabins accounting for around 33% share and timber framed buildings accounting for the remaining 24% share. However, by volume log cabins are the largest sector, holding an estimated 77% share and these are mainly sold as self assembly. In contrast other garden buildings such as modular garden rooms and timber framed buildings tend to be sold with installation included. Homeworking has continued to increase in popularity in recent years and this has contributed to sales of garden buildings. However, whilst garden rooms were initially seen as a solution to homeworking, increasingly they are being used for a much wider range of activities and specification demands are developing accordingly.
Garden rooms and buildings are distributed through a range of different channels including DIY outlets and builders merchants, online, mail order and through garden centres, with manufacturers increasingly selling direct via their own websites. The Internet is having a significant impact on distribution as online research allows consumers to easily compare product specifications and prices, searches may take consumers to companies in other channels and companies with transactional websites can offer a much larger range of products than they can offer in store. Indeed some companies have entered different product sectors to their traditional offering (e.g. supermarkets offering log cabins). There is a diverse range of large and small manufacturers including subsidiaries of large European groups, medium-sized UK companies and family businesses.
While volumes have seen a slight fall in recent years, the self build market has continued to grow in value terms, reflecting increases in key component cost elements. However, of late land values have fallen at a greater rate than construction and development costs, which have remained broadly flat. As a result, the recovery in the self build sector has been modest since 2011, rising by between 2% and 3% between 2011 and 2013 to reach an estimated £3.4bn in 2013.
Going forward the market is somewhat optimistic following the Government’s recent announcements on removing planning constraints and increasing initiatives to double the size of the self-build market. Value increases of between 3% and 7% are forecast for the sector going forward to 2018, driven by an upturn in the economy and general housing market and rising consumer confidence. As a result, the value of the self build market is expected to reach around £4.4bn in 2018.
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