Move over garden office… The bunker is where it’s at

Image of bunkers.

Looking for extra room to accommodate your home office, or simply fancy more storage space? A bunker may well be the answer, according to largemortgageloans.com (LML) in partnership with TwentyCi. The expert provider of bespoke mortgage advice to high net worth (HNW) individuals has discovered that there are an astonishing 408 residential properties in Britain with their very own hidden bunker. Of these, 11 (3%) are currently in homes that are for sale, good news for those who want to purchase their very own secret hideaway.

Luckily, there is a bunker to suit all budgets with current asking prices ranging from less than £200k in Prestwick, Scotland right through to over £1m in Iver, Buckinghamshire. Currently, of the remaining nine properties available with a bunker, the majority (five) are in the £500k – £1m price bracket and four are priced between £200k – £500k.

Surprisingly, these hidden treasures are based in unassuming residential properties all around Britain and are being marketed for all manner of purposes, such as a home office, gym or music and entertainment room. On a larger scale, a 1951 Cold War bunker in Essex was completely restored and transformed into three luxury apartments in 2021 by developers BuildVantage Limited.

However, on a more serious note, since the invasion of Ukraine and the potential threat of a nuclear attack, a number of bunker owners have reported a greater interest from some individuals looking to buy or rent their bunkers in the event of an escalation in the conflict.

In total, there are 408 residential properties across Britain with secret bunkers, with nearly a quarter (98) located in homes in South West England. Of these, 60 alone are situated in properties in the Bristol postcode area, making it the bunker capital of Britain. Next in the rankings is South East England with nearly a fifth (74) of properties followed by East of England with 57 (14%). The region with the fewest residential bunkers is North East England with just 6 (1%) and East Midlands with 12 (2%). Scotland has just 16 (4% ) and Wales 13 (3%).

Although there is a bunker for all budgets, the majority of properties with such a secret hideaway are not cheap. Nearly half (177) of all properties with a bunker are valued at over £500k, with 52 (13%) of these falling into the prime £1m plus bracket, making many of them unattainable for the majority without such financial help as a mortgage. It’s also worth bearing in mind that borrowing to purchase a property with a bunker, a standalone bunker or any other unusual property will potentially fall outside of a traditional high street lender’s criteria. There are a number of specialist lenders who will be happy to organise a financial solution with bespoke terms to match. It is always advised that buyers speak to a specialist broker experienced in complex lending before embarking on such a property purchase.

The beauty of bunkers is that the majority of them are very unassuming, hidden within typical suburban homes. 150 (37%) are in residential 3 bedroom homes, 114 (28%) are in 4 bedroom homes and 59 (14%) are in 2 bedroom homes. At the other end of the scale, there are eight (2%) properties with 7 bedrooms or more.

Paul Welch, CEO and founder of largemortgageloans.com commented; “It’s remarkable to think of Britain’s secret network of bunkers, many of them subterranean hideaways hidden beneath unassuming suburban family homes. It’s like something from an Ian Fleming novel and the days of the Cold War. In the 1980s, there were a number of building societies which would lend money for the building of nuclear fallout shelters as the threat of nuclear war became ever present. Today, bunkers feel like a relic of bygone days but in reality they can be utilised in a number of ways, as a home office, cellar or extra storage space. For a few, they are in demand as a lifesaver, following the invasion of Ukraine.

“Unlike the 1980s though, if you’re looking to buy a property with a bunker, or you want to buy a standalone bunker, it’s worth bearing in mind that securing finance for such a purchase may fall outside of a lender’s standard criteria. There are many specialist lenders who will be happy to offer a financial solution for such a complex property purchase, therefore, it’s recommended that you speak to an experienced mortgage adviser who will be able to access such lenders on your behalf and can guide you on the finance options available.”

All figures supplied by TwentyCi, the provider of data, analytics and insight of the UK residential property market.

APPENDIX

Number of bunkers in residential properties around Great Britain – breakdown by region

Image of Number of bunkers in residential properties around Great Britain – breakdown by region.

Number of bunkers in residential properties around Great Britain – breakdown by property value

Image of Number of bunkers in residential properties around Great Britain – breakdown by property value.

Number of bunkers in residential properties around Great Britain – breakdown by number of bedrooms

Image of Number of bunkers in residential properties around Great Britain – breakdown by number of bedrooms.

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