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British homeowners splash out £30 bn on home improvements

If you thought that the heyday of home improvement spending was in the 1990s, think again. With more value and less mobility in the housing market, property owners are realising that home improvements are a sound investment and are predicted to have spent almost £30billion on them by year-end (2019/2020). This includes items ranging from paintbrushes and kitchen shelving up to conservatories and loft conversions.

To put that in perspective, that’s almost seven times as much as we will spend on Christmas.

Another common assumption is that we primarily spend on home improvement projects during the summer months. In practice, many of us prefer to have everything ready before the summer because that’s the best time to sell up, go on holiday, entertain guests, or just relax and enjoy our bigger better homes.

Builders and other tradespeople are human too; they would rather book us in during the winter months than have their calendars locked up in the summer when they could be on holiday with the family. Research by AA Financial Services backs this up, showing that many of us choose to improve our homes before Christmas. Home improvement may be an investment strategy for some, but for others, it’s an early Christmas present to themselves. Pre-empting the upcoming snows of January and the gales of March are also considerations in late autumn DIY activity.

Christmas home improvements

According to the same AA survey, no less than 41% of homeowners plan some level of room decoration before the tinsel goes up. The kitchen is the top priority prior to the 25th, but 18% of us even plan outdoor landscaping projects. After all, we aren’t using our outdoor spaces so much and the weather is only going to get worse in the coming months.

While many of us undertake new conservatories, extensions, garden rooms and loft conversions, relatively few think of one extremely beneficial improvement we could be making, namely conservatory roof insulation. This is probably because most people don’t realise that it is possible to improve the insulation of existing conservatories. Options include double glazing units and transparent suspended ceilings. It’s a shame to waste that extra space precisely when we are spending more time together indoors.

Getting ready for the electric car

One new area of expenditure for a growing number of people is the installation of electric car chargers. The electric car is now being rolled out in earnest by every major car manufacturer. There are numerous very good reasons for that, but for many buyers being “greener” is only one of them. Many of the latest generations of electric cars dramatically out-perform their internal combustion-engined rivals. In the near future, a significant percentage of us will be driving electric or hybrid vehicles and will need a home charger.

Even if you don’t have one now, a ready-installed charger should significantly enhance the value of your property. The need for home charging will also increase the value of garages to shelter them in and that might mean a little re-planning of your home. This may be easier to accommodate if you integrate your garage and charger plans with other home improvements.

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