They have long been favoured by older homeowners who are downsizing and want to avoid climbing the stairs several times a day.
But now bungalows are surging in popularity among young families — as first-time buyers look for cheaper ways to get a foothold on the property ladder.
Estate agents say young professionals in their 20s and 30s are increasingly battling it out in bidding wars against pensioners — leading to quick-fire bungalow sales and rising prices.
According to property website Rightmove, the average asking price has reached £356,957 — meaning bungalows are worth just £5,495 less than the average UK property’s asking price, the gap having closed from £8,395 last year.
In demand: Lauren Taplin, 35, and her partner, Dan, 30, (pictured) purchased their chalet bungalow on a quiet cul-de-sac in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex last August
Overall, the number of prospective buyers setting their sights on bungalows is up 11 per cent compared with February 2019, according to Rightmove.
Sales are being agreed within days of bungalows being advertised, says Leah Scarborough, an estate agent at Haart in Essex.
‘Bungalows in need of a little bit of work are being bought by buyers aged 25 to 30,’ she says.
‘They can sell in just a week as prices are so high at the moment, meaning many people are struggling to afford a renovated property.’
Rightmove says that when a buyer is found, the sale is being completed twice as quickly as for house sales in general. Bungalows took 64 days to sell in February compared with 145 days for other homes.
There are currently 2.5 million bungalows in the UK, accounting for under a tenth of all housing stock, according to the Valuation Office Agency.
Yet just 2,830 new bungalows were registered last year, representing 1.48 per cent of all homes built in 2022, according to the National House Building Council.
That is almost a third less than 20 years ago, when 8,698 were built in a year.
The shortfall is putting pressure on the market, with experts warning of fierce competition between first-time buyers and older homeowners.
Competition: Estate agents say young professionals are increasingly battling it out in bidding wars against pensioners – leading to quick-fire bungalow sales and rising prices
John Arnold, an estate agent at Hills in Swinton, Greater Manchester, says younger buyers are targeting ‘dated’ homes as an easy way to add value with simple renovation work.
‘Bungalows appeal to older people who have been in bigger properties but are now looking for one without stairs. But they are also appealing to people who are looking to update them,’ he says.
‘We have seen an increase in the number of people looking to renovate bungalows in the past couple of years.
‘Most of these properties are dated because they were previously owned by older people. The kitchens and bathrooms need replacing, plus new carpets and curtains are required throughout, generally speaking.’
Henry Pryor, an independent buying agent, says: ‘If you’re trying to get on the lowest rung of the housing ladder then bungalows are a great option as houses are so expensive at the moment.’
Extensive renovation was needed when Lauren Taplin, 35, and her partner, Dan, 30, purchased their chalet bungalow last August. The couple, from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, spent £25,000 on the roof, windows, doors and plasterwork of their 1950s bungalow, which they bought for £395,000.
‘We had to update everything,’ says Lauren. ‘We even had to level all the floors. It’s an older building and they had begun to sink.
‘But we could see the potential. The rooms are so much bigger than you would get in a regular house and there’s a large garden.’
Compact: Almost half of bungalows have two bedrooms, only one in five has more than three bedrooms. Most are also freehold properties
The bungalow has two smaller bedrooms built into the roof area. Lauren and Dan’s bedroom is downstairs and their soon-to-be-born child will sleep in one of the upstairs rooms eventually.
‘If we have a second child then we could use the other upstairs bedroom,’ Lauren says.
Their home is on a quiet cul-de-sac of 15 bungalows occupied by a mixture of older homeowners and younger residents, many of whom are also renovating and expanding their properties.
The couple, both estate agents, intend to stay put to raise a family, beginning with their first baby, who is set to arrive in just a few weeks.
‘Bungalows are great starter homes for first-time buyers,’ says Lauren. ‘We want this to be our forever home and we don’t want to move again.’
Daniel Copley, consumer expert at property website Zoopla, says: ‘Bungalows usually have potential to extend and add value and space, either by building into the roof or outwards — which is more affordable than building a two- storey extension on a house.
‘They are great for modern living and older homes tend to come on bigger plots too with more spacious gardens.’
Almost half of bungalows have two bedrooms. But only one in five has more than three, according to the Valuation Office Agency.
Most bungalows are also freehold properties, meaning that buyers own the house and land it’s built on outright.
In comparison, most flats are sold as leasehold, meaning that buyers do not own the land their property occupies and so are at the mercy of the freeholder if there are problems with the building itself.