A coach house is generally best described as a home that is situated above a row of garaged or carports, and the owner of the home is usually also the freeholder for the entire building. The concept originates from a design that allowed horses and their carriages to be securely kept under a property at night when this was the only means of transport available.
The freeholder that lives within the property will generally have the use of one of the garages, with the others being leased to the surrounding properties on long-term leases with peppercorn rents. These properties have seen a surge in popularity, with more and more of this construction type appearing on new build estates due to their space-saving design and competitive pricing.
Is a coach house right for you?
Coach houses can almost be seen as a hybrid between a flat and detached property, with some people seeing them as offering the best of both worlds. Prices will often be much more competitive than a detached house in the same area, meaning that you are able to get more for your money and live at an address that you may otherwise be unable to afford.
Living in a coach house can provide many of the same benefits of a detached property. You will not have the issue of neighbours surrounding you on every side as you would in a traditional flat -in fact, your only neighbours are the downstairs garages, which usually have restricted use for their leaseholders
These buildings can also outshine their flat counterparts due to the outside space that they offer. One of the garages below the building is nearly always available for the resident’s use, with electricity and water able to be plumbed into this particular garage. There is also the unusual added bonus that many coach houses will come with a garden of some kind to the rear of the property. This is something that you almost never see with a traditional flat.
Are there downsides?
Despite these clear benefits, before you rush off to find a coach house to buy there are a few drawbacks that need to be considered. These properties are regarded by some people as being notoriously cold and difficult to heat, largely due to the fact that they sit above rows of garages that are usually empty and poorly insulated.
The resale value of a property such as this also needs to be considered before you commit to making an offer. There is certainly a market for these homes, but it is likely to be more limited than for a standard family home, meaning that the property could take longer to sell, or that you may have to take a hit on the asking price for a quick sale.
The one final hurdle that may need to be overcome when purchasing a coach house is home insurance. Due to the unique nature of properties such as these, lots of mainstream insurers are unable to offer suitable policies. This is because the insurance will need to account for your own freehold property and the leasehold garages, as insurance responsibility for the whole building generally falls with the freeholder unless the terms of the lease specify something different.
There is a lot to think about when considering buying a new home, particularly one that is that little bit different. However, once the pros and cons have been carefully considered, many people still find that a coach house can provide the ideal living situation for them, offering that longed-for best of both worlds.