Nursery Today magazine

The house that Wendy built

The UK’s first Wendy House Price Index has been released by Argos, showing that British parents and their children are prioritising inexpensive, wooden homes and play houses suitable for smaller spaces.

Toy retailer Argos analysed three years of Wendy house sales data which shows interesting parallels with the UK’s real-life housing market.

The average amount spent on a play house is now at a three-year low of £122.20, diving 12 per cent from last year’s high of £134.40. Customers are increasingly turning away from plastic Wendy houses and play houses and embracing environmentally-friendly wooden versions, with a 60 per cent increase in the number of wooden houses sold since 2017.

72 per cent of people buy play houses online, while 35 per cent of people reserve for Click & Collect pick-up.

The most popular ‘new build’ is a £129.99 playhouse with its own kitchen.  A foldable bungalow  and wooden single-storey accommodation are also among the top ten most-bought Wendy houses. Price was the first consideration amongst buyers, who shunned expensive two-storey options, slides and extra non-essential features.

When it comes to Wendy houses, mum is very much the decision maker, with 75 per cent of all purchases made by women. Grandparents are also keen to help their grandchildren get on the Wendy-housing ladder, making 21 per cent of play house buys. Unlike in the real housing market, four out of ten purchases are made without negotiation (e.g. not in the sale), and remarkably, just six per cent of Wendy houses are bought by first time buyers.

Liverpool, Birmingham and Belfast are the three cities where the Wendy house market is booming so far in 2019, with parents willing to splurge on outdoor toys. London, where families may have less space thanks to rising real-life property prices, was outside of the top ten.

The top ten (play house) property hotspots:
1 – Liverpool
2 – Birmingham
3 – Belfast
4 – Newcastle
5 – Bristol
6 – Nottingham
7 – Leicester
8 – Glasgow
9 – Leeds
10 – Manchester
Matthew Stent, Outdoor Toys Buying Manager at Argos, said: “Wooden Wendy houses are on the up, suggesting that customers want to be eco-friendlier by reducing the amount of plastic in their household.  Wooden versions also enable parents and children to more easily customise their Wendy House by painting it different colours or adding names or initials, making it unique to them.
“The most popular play houses in the Argos range are foldable and smaller in size, allowing for indoor and outdoor play, with buyers cautious with their money and wanting Wendy houses that can be used whatever the weather.  And unlike the actual housing market, you don’t need a massive deposit to get on the Wendy house ladder, with lots of great value options for parents.”

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