Home improvements soar during lockdown

Research shows that homeowners are taking on more projects

One of the many secondary impacts of the coronavirus pandemic is that it made us re-evaluate our home environments. Long spells in lockdown caused us to fall out of love with our current properties, and a significant number of homeowners decided to sell up and move once the market reopened, resulting in increased property sales and higher house prices.

And those who chose to stay in their current homes have looked for other ways to improve their living conditions, according to new research.

Lockdown drives an increase in DIY projects

A recent survey suggests that between March and May this year, 3 in 5 homeowners carried out some kind of DIY project in their home[1]. The majority of these projects were in the garden, reflecting an increased need for people to make the most of their outdoor space.

Popular projects inside the home included redecorating a room, repurposing a room, or creating a home office space. The choice of these projects reflects a growing need for our homes to fulfil multiple functions, with workspaces, fitness zones, and areas dedicated to entertainment.

Additionally, 4 in 5 homeowners plan to make some kind of change to their home in the next 12 months. While minor DIY projects will account for many of those changes, a significant number of homeowners have much more elaborate plans.

Homeowners choosing to extend rather than move

Before the pandemic, around 1 in 5 homeowners were planning major renovations or home improvement works in the next 12 months. After lockdown, that figure has increased to 1 in 3.

Over 60,000 planning permission applications were made during the first lockdown period, amounting to building work worth an estimated £1.9 billion. It appears that homeowners are desiring more living space in their properties, since the most common planning applications in 2020 have been for single-storey extensions, followed by two-storey extensions, and loft conversions.

Analysis into people’s reasons for extending revealed that 1 in 5 felt it was a cheaper alternative to moving to a new home, with others reporting that it was less hassle than moving, or that they are sentimentally attached to their current home.

Tips for improving your home

If you’re among the homeowners planning a project in the upcoming 12 months, here are some things to consider:

  1. Pick a manageable project. Updating your living space doesn’t have to involve an extension or conversion. While these will make the biggest difference to your home, they involve a significant amount of time, money, and stress. Something simpler, such as repurposing a spare room (or a corner of a room) as a home office, may increase your enjoyment of your home without as much hassle.
  1. Don’t skip the planning stage. Boredom in lockdown or frustration with your current environment might make you eager to jump into the work itself, but careful planning will ensure the project runs smoothly and that the end result is what you hoped for.
  1. Budget carefully. The key to completing home improvement works within budget is to account for everything at the start, and keep an eye on your costs all the way through. If you get this right, you may even increase the value of your home by more than the project costs you.

Source data:

[1] https://www.santander.co.uk/about-santander/media-centre/press-releases/home-improvement-lives-on-in-busy-property-market-as

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