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The world has changed at an unimaginable pace over the last two years and 2020 was the year no one expected. With people confined to their homes and spending more time indoors, Britons spent billions of pounds on home improvements during the pandemic, as we discovered a new meaning to our homes. As working from home became a more prominent aspect of our lives and we had to ‘accept’ our living circumstances, British households were prompted to re-evaluate their housing needs. As a result of this, exclusive data from Powered Now shows that British consumers spent £110.3b ($156bn) on home improvements during the pandemic, an increase of nearly 30% year-on-year.With a huge increase in property sales before the end of the stamp duty holiday, as well as this home improvement boom, it is quite evident that few homes have emerged from the pandemic as they were. But is this mindset here to stay, and will the home improvement boom continue into 2022?
The change in household priorities
It’s almost impossible for one home to meet a household’s needs completely as they age, grow and change - especially throughout the last few years we have lived through. During the various lockdowns, the population was forced to adapt to a new way of living and realise what really matters. The importance of having a nice home, spending time with family and appreciating what you have is becoming more and more ingrained into consumer interests across the UK. Statistics released in June 2021 show that the UK Planning Portal received 63,497 applications for planning permission in England and Wales in May 2021, up 52% compared with May 2020. Based on this previous year, this just proves how the population’s mindset shifted from do-it-yourself jobs around the house, to truly investing in the future of their properties and adding value. Despite the pandemic slowly coming to an end, the new mindsets households have developed are certainly here to stay. Certain aspects of homes which were previously not seen as essential, may now have a far greater impact when choosing whether to stay, or sell up. Some of these factors include:
55% of the UK worked from home in 2020. With an increasing number of people working from home, the requirement for more space within the home, such as creating a home office, is now an essential factor for many households. Based on GWI data, in October 2021, only 34% of UK workers were fully office-based, with most professionals having a hybrid setup between WFH and the office, so employees are demanding flexibility from employees. However, one of the huge problems remote workers face is the lack of work-life balance when working at their dining room table, or on the living room sofa. Although working from home has its benefits, it can also make separating work from home life a challenge. A dedicated office space with a desk, phone and Wi-Fi is now a priority for many, with most working professionals opting for the flexible experience longer term.
The average home loses 10% of its heat through its windows and doors. Homes with poor heating and insulation are not always pleasant to live in, and you often see a lack of energy efficiency with older properties. Home improvements can be a considerable investment to improve the energy efficiency of a home, not only saving the household money on their energy bills, but there are also attractive incentives in the form of government grants or financial support. Having new windows and doors installed can reduce heat loss, being one of the most effective ways that you can make sure your home is well insulated.
Access to outdoor spaces
Whether it’s a nearby park, bigger garden or a stunning conservatory, homeowners want more of a connection to outdoor spaces. Being more exposed to natural light has been proven to lead to a much better living experience. If households don’t have a huge garden, but have wasted elements of their outdoor space, a conservatory is often a great option, as the most desirable gardens appear to be extensions of the house itself. They combine the beauty of the outside and nature itself, with the cosiness and interior design of indoors.
Are the house prices continuing to rise in 2022?
Based on a strong buyer demand and a historically low level of available properties on the market, Rightmove predicts that this is going to continue pushing property prices up in 2022, rising by 5% over the next year. Although the market is not going to be as frenzied as 2021 and we are starting to see signs of a return to traditional norms, there are still record numbers of homebuyers looking right now, so the competition for property is at near-record highs.
Don’t move, improve
Homeowners move for a variety of different reasons, one of the most common being that they need more space or features than their current property can provide. The individuals in this category face a dilemma over whether they’d be better off moving or improving their existing home. Despite there being pros and cons for both options, no new property is likely to tick every box. Finding a new home can be highly stressful for everyone involved, but by deciding to improve your existing house, which is already considered your family home, will allow you to make the most difference to your family with informed decisions about how you want to live there; as well as some additional value for your property. Moving might not be the best choice for everyone. Combined with the current uncertainty surrounding UK property markets and the ever-increasing costs of selling and purchasing a new home, it’s why so many households are choosing not to move, but improve.
Benefits of home renovations
Why exactly are home renovations so popular?
Saves the cost of moving
As we have already touched upon, moving house can be a stressful and expensive endeavour. With the potential to encounter numerous problems along the way, as well as some guaranteed extra expenses you may have not accounted for. From legal fees to surveys, Stamp Duty, and hiring a removal company, all of these costs add up. Not to mention how the house prices across the UK can be incredibly volatile, so it's hard to know the best time to sell. The average cost of moving home in the UK is just over £10,000.
Add value to your property
There are a limitless number of ways you can add value to a home. By renovating your existing home, this can dramatically increase the value of your property and make it more desirable. For example, by adding a conservatory this can potentially add around 7% in value to your home - depending on how well the property’s addition fits with its surroundings. It can also increase the amount of interest that the property attracts from potential buyers. You will not only end up with a home that meets your requirements in a better fashion, but a home that has also gone up in value, which will benefit you greatly if you decide to sell the property in the future.
Lowering energy costs
Like we mentioned earlier, the energy efficiency of a home is becoming more and more important. Renovating your home could mean that you are able to save money on your energy bills and enjoy a warmer and more pleasant home - making a big difference to the amount of energy that you use. It’s estimated that a typical house will lose up to 10% of its heat through windows, so ensuring you’ve got the latest window technology will mitigate some of that loss. New doors and windows will give your home a new thermal resistance, reducing the amount of heat escaping in winter and keeping your home at a more comfortable temperature.
Is the home renovation boom going to continue?
The real question is, is 2022 going to see households continuing to renovate their homes? With the huge number of benefits, compared to the few negatives, this is likely to be the case. Choosing the right elements to upgrade your home will ensure they become assets that will be well worth the investment when it's time to sell your property, rather than selling up straight away. By taking away the factor of value, you also have the opportunity to make your house something very unique that reflects your tastes. Despite many homeowners feeling undecided about improving their existing property or moving to find their perfect home, home renovations will continue to be a popular option for households. In 2021, 51% of homeowners were planning to renovate, up five percentage points since 2019 (46%) and it’s no surprise why this is the case. With UK homeowners truly fixated on home improvements, we can’t see that trend going away anytime soon.