Choosing a House Name
If you are in the process of choosing a house name, here is some analysis of Britain’s most popular property names to help you decide. Whether you are looking for a name for a new build, a barn conversion, a house with just a number currently or a house with an existing name, choosing the right house name is an important decision.
We have found that looking to the flowers or trees in the garden, or the local natural surroundings for inspiration could help increase the desirability of the property. Here, we use actual UK sold prices data to compare botanical house names, suggest some tips for choosing a house name, give a quick guide to changing the name of a house and talk about how to use home decor to add authenticity to a house name.
Why Do Houses Have Names?
In hamlets and villages, where houses have never been built on a ‘street’ system, there is no logical way to number houses – they are often not arranged in straight lines and may have been built hundreds of years apart. So house names are the original way to identify specific properties.
Back before Google Maps and SatNavs (or even widespread road signage), choosing a house name based on local landmark may have helped people find specific properties – for example ‘Lone Pine’ or ‘Hill House’. Some names gave an indication of who lived at the property, for example ‘The Old Rectory’. Grand house names such as ‘Hall’, ‘Manor’ and ‘Castle’ were chosen partly as status symbols.
New houses in rural areas or one-off developments are often still given traditional British names today.
Can Any House Have a Name?
If your house currently just has a number and street name, it should be possible to to add a name to the address. If you live in a flat, it also may be possible to name it, however, think about how this would work in practice – are you able to display the name at the entrance to the building, for example? If your property has a self-contained annexe with it’s own separate address, in theory it should be possible to change it’s name. Please see the ‘How to Change your House Name’ section for more on this.
Does a House’s Name Affect it’s Value?
There are so many more important factors to consider when buying a house, that the name alone is unlikely to significantly affect the value of the property. After all, even if the name is particularly unattractive or unsuitable, it is usually possible to change the name of a house.
While it might not affect the value of the house much, a good name may add to the property’s desirability and ‘saleability’. Some buyers may always have dreamed of living in a ‘Rose Cottage’ or an ‘Oak Lodge’, so the right name may help sway a buyer into making an offer on your house, rather than another.
We’ve done this analysis because, given the choice, choosing a house name which is known to be popular and likeable just makes sense.
The Maths – How we did the Analysis
Firstly, this is just for fun and to inspire anyone who is choosing a house name. There are a few factors which will bias these results, for example properties named after flowers or trees could be more likely to be found in rural areas and potentially have larger gardens or land included in the sale price. Also, some flowers and trees may be more common in parts of the country with higher house prices for other reasons (such as proximity to London).
We have tried to tried to limit bias by looking at only detached, freehold properties sold for £100k to £1m. Where we mention specific house names, we have included only those with ten or more sales per house name.
The data used is actual sales and sold prices, which is a public dataset, available for free from the Land Registry. In order for us to use and publish this data, we must state the following attribution: Data produced by Land Registry © Crown copyright 2016.
Top 10 Botanical House Names
Most of the top ten botanical house names are based on trees, showing the love the British people have always had for trees and woodland.
We calculated the average sold price of all named properties in Britain in 2016 to be £433k. Properties named after the Mulberry tree or bush have an average sold value of £518k – 19.5% higher than the average named property.
House names including the word ‘Chestnut’ sold for an average of £512k – 18.1% higher than the average named property.
So if you are thinking of choosing a house name inspired by a tree, Mulberry or Chestnut could be good choices.
Why are Houses Named After Trees?
12% of land in the UK is currently forested. This was even higher long ago when we first started building hamlets and villages. Over time, Britain lost a lot of it’s woodland during times of war, for shipbuilding and charcoal for gunpowder. Woodlands were also lost for land for agriculture and industrialisation. So when many British homes (especially rural homes) were built, they were close to areas of woodland.
Home owners may have named their home after a nearby landmark tree, the type of wood used to construct their home or because trees represent strength and longevity – qualities they wanted their home to reflect.
Top 10 Floral House Names
House names including the word ‘Foxglove’ have the highest average sold value among floral house names, at £471k – 8.6% higher than the average named property. ‘Wisteria’ named homes had an average sold price of £460k – 6.0% higher than the average named property. ‘Lavender’ named homes, at £441k on average, have a 1.7% higher than average selling price.
The other floral names in the top ten have lower sold prices on average, compared to all named properties. This could be because properties with floral names tend to be smaller, or be more common in parts of the country with lower house prices for other reasons.
So if you’d like to give your home a floral name, choosing a house name based on Foxglove, Lavender or Wisteria could be good choices.
Why are Houses Named After Flowers?
Properties with floral names suggest a romantic, homely, cosy home. The people who originally named the property may have taken inspiration from the garden and surrounding land.
Several of our top ten floral house names are based on flowers renowned for their strong scents – lavender, honeysuckle, rose, jasmine bluebell and lilac – which may have been used to help the home smell better in the days of smoky fireplaces and dampness.
Houses named after flowers may have been named after real people with floral names – a wife or daughter, perhaps.
The popularity of floral house names shows that homes and flowers have had close associations for many, many years in Britain. Choosing a house name with a flower in it is a popular tradition.
House Names Inspired by Nature
Houses can be named after their natural surroundings without referring to a specific tree or flower. We have identified eight such house name types with high enough sales volumes. ‘Garden’ tops the list, with an average sold price 23.6% higher than an average named property, at £536k.
The popularity of trees is also evident in this list – with forest, wood, woodland, tree and orchard all appearing and, with higher values than the average British named property.
So if there is no obvious tree or flower to name your house after, or they all seem to be already taken locally, you can take inspiration from one of these names.
Top 10 House Names by Increase in Value – 2016 vs 2015
It’s also interesting to look at the house names which have increased most in value. The average sold price of a property with an ‘apple’-related name increased from £421k in 2015 to £499k in 2016 – an 18.5% increase.
The average sold price for house names based on ‘Rowan’ increased from £400k in 2015 to £471k in 2016 – a 17.7% increase. ‘Acorn’ house names saw average sold prices increase from £409k in 2015 to £469k in 2016 – an increase of 14.8%.
So if you are looking for house names which are growing in popularity, you could try choosing a house name containing ‘Apple’, ‘Rowan’ or ‘Acorn’.
Should I Call my Property Cottage, Lodge or House?
Once you’ve decided on the perfect flower or tree name for your property, you may want to add ‘Cottage’, ‘Lodge’ or ‘House’ to the name. There are obviously other options, such as ‘Villa’, ‘Manor’ or ‘Hill’ etc, but Cottage, Lodge and House are the most common in house names and these had enough house sales for us to take averages for our analysis.
To some extent, some options may not really work for your property. For example, if it is very clearly a substantial house, a new build or a modern building, ‘Cottage’ will just seem odd (more on adding authenticity to your house name later).
We have compared average sold prices for ‘Cottage’, ‘Lodge’ and ‘House’ for five of the highest-volume property names. ‘House’ tends to have the highest value, with ‘Cottage’ and ‘Lodge’ lower on average. Obviously this could be due to lots of other factors too, such as property size, amount of land etc.
Naming a Cottage
Will naming a cottage after a flower or tree really make it more desirable? In order to try and answer this question, we have compared cottages with botanical names to Britain’s most popular cottage name – ‘The Cottage’.
For all the cottages where there were enough sales to analyse, the average value was higher for those with botanical names than for those with non-botanical names.
The difference was even greater when comparing cottages with flower or tree names to ‘The Cottage’. For example, the average sale price for properties called ‘Magnolia Cottage’ was £555k – 27.3% higher than cottages with non-botanical names and a massive 43.1% higher than those named simply ‘The Cottage’.
If you are the owner of ‘The Cottage’, it might be worth considering changing it to include a floral or botanical name.
Naming a Barn
There are lower volumes of barn sales, so we were a bit limited as to how many we can analyse here. However, similarly to cottage names, we found that barns named after flowers, trees or nature had higher average sold prices than barns named ‘The Barn’.
When comparing against non-botanical barn names, the results were more mixed. Barn names also including the word ‘Willow’, ‘Tree’ or ‘Meadow’ had higher average sales values than barns with non-botanical names, but names including ‘Oak’, ‘Orchard’ or ‘Wood’ had lower average sales values.
It may be that ‘Barn’ already implies natural, rural surroundings, so some nature-inspired barn names do not boost their desirability much more.
Should I Include ‘The’ in my House Name?
To answer this, we looked at botanical property names with the largest volumes and compared the versions starting with ‘The’ versus those without. For example, we compared ‘The Meadows’ with ‘Meadow Cottage’, ‘Meadow House’, ‘Meadowside’ etc.
We found that in most of the cases we looked at, the version with ‘The’ sold for less than the version without.
To be honest, we aren’t entirely sure why this would be, but if you are looking for the perfect house name, it could be worth considering dropping ‘The’ from the beginning.
How to Change a House Name
If you’ve decided to change the name of your house, or add a name to a property which currently has a number, you will need to apply to your local authority. If your house already has a number, in many cases that number will remain part of your address.
You will need to inform your bank and other organisations which hold your address. If your address does not match with any held on address databases such as the Royal Mail’s, things could get tricky when trying to buy things online or provide identity documents etc.
Can I Call My House Anything I want?
Your local authority are unlikely to approve names which are offensive, forbidden or already used locally. It is best to avoid names which could be confused with other local houses, as you may find your deliveries end up left at their property or vice versa (this happens to us from time to time, despite the postcodes being different).
Help Delivery Drivers Find You
Having the house name clearly displayed will help the postal service and delivery drivers to find you. If you have a large garden or long driveway, having the house name sign at the entrance to the property (rather than on the house itself) will be helpful. Displaying both the old and new names for a few months might help too. When buying things online, there is often a box to leave delivery instructions in. It’s worth a try, but we find that the messages don’t usually make their way to the driver.
How to Check the Local House Names
If you aren’t sure of all the local house names, a quick way to get a list is, next time you are buying something online and have to enter your postcode then click ‘find address’, a list of all the properties in the postcode pops up. Remember to check neighbouring postcodes too.
Adding Authenticity – Using Your House Name to Inspire Your Home Decor
Have you found the perfect house name, but the link to the house itself is not obvious? There are lots of little ways to incorporate the name into your home decor to subtly add to the authenticity of the house name.
We’re not suggesting an outright theme (though if you love the flower or tree enough, why not!), but simple little ways to link the house with it’s name. For example, choosing mugs, tea towels, bedding, hand washes and scented candles which match the house name are inexpensive and subtle options.
When re-decorating, you could consider fabrics, wallpapers and wall art with your chosen plant on.
If you have a garden or window boxes and have chosen a floral name, planting the flowers themselves will add authenticity. Even if it’s a tree name, if your garden is big enough such that the tree wouldn’t be at risk of damaging the building, why not plant the tree for future generations to enjoy?
If you want to display the flower or tree as a more permanent part of the interior design of the house, tiles in the kitchen or bathroom are a good way to do this. Many of the flowers and trees in Britain’s most popular house names appear as designs in our tile range. Many are also based on antique illustrations, so even though the tiles themselves are brand new, they can create a feeling that they are vintage and are a traditional part of the property.
All the Best With Choosing a House Name
I hope this has helped you decide whether to rename your house, with choosing a house name and how to use your interior design to bring your house name to life.
All the best!