Half of garages used as stores

Almost one third of householders have either converted or are considering converting their garage.

Nearly half of car owners (48 per cent) in Northern Ireland do not park their car in their garage overnight.

Forty-five per cent of home owners use their garage as storage space.

According to new research by The Co-operative Insurance, a space to house the family car was once the must-have addition for all aspirational homeowners but the findings show the majority of people with access to a garage (71 per cent) now rarely use it for what it was originally designed.

The findings show that the primary reason for conversion of garages is for the purpose of using the space as an office or workshop (43 per cent).

Research also highlights other reasons for conversion, which include increasing living space (29 per cent), creating a bigger kitchen (14 per cent) and adding an extra bedroom (14 per cent).

Half of people who have converted their garages believe this has added value to their property.

And nearly half (45 per cent) say they do not park their car in the garage because they use it for storage. With the average contents of a garage worth £750, research also uncovered thatalmost one in six people (14 per cent) feel that their garage is not as secure as it could be.

Of those who use their garage for storage, tools were most popular (66 per cent), followed by paint and decorating items (67 per cent) and gardening equipment (52 per cent). One in seven people (14 per cent) use their garages to house alcohol in make-shift wine cellars.

Most common items stored in Northern Ireland garages: tools 66 per cent; paint/decorating items 59 per cent; gardening equipment/lawnmower 45 per cent; bikes 41 per cent; old household furniture 35 per cent; barbecue 35 per cent; freezer 34 per cent; wellies 28; alcohol 14 per cent.

James Hillon, director of insurance, at The Co-operative Insurance, said: “The research clearly demonstrates that garages now have a multitude of uses beyond their original purpose for housing a car.

“Worryingly the findings show nearly one in six people feel their garage is not as secure as it could be, Given the range of valuables it is vital that households ensure their garage is appropriately secured and its contents safe.

“In addition, with many taking the opportunity to convert garages and add space and value, we would encourage homeowners to also make appropriate adjustments to their home and contents insurance to ensure that they are covered in the event of loss, theft or damage.”