Pandemic pushes home renovation spending up by 36%

The amount we are spending on renovating our homes has surged by 36% during the last year to a median of £15,000, according to the data released by Houzz & Home.

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Property Reporter
1st October 2021
Home Improvement 277

A new survey of more than 3,000 UK respondents found that higher budget projects (with the top 10% of project spend) reached £100,000 or more in 2020. Investment in kitchen projects, the most popular among renovating homeowners, jumped 15%to £11,500 in 2020 compared with £10,000 in 2019. The study also found that the busy renovation market will continue through 2021, with 51% of homeowners planning to renovate this year, up five percentage points since 2019 (46%).

With homeowners home-bound due to the pandemic, the share who reported that they had wanted to pursue a home renovation all along and finally had the time increased by five percentage points in 2020 (38%versus 33% in 2018), and remains the top renovation trigger.

Wanting to do it all along and finally having the financial means also rose (as reported by 37%of homeowners compared with 35% in 2018). One in five homeowners claimed to have renovated instead of moving to find a home that fit their needs because it was the more affordable option (20%). Renovating to adapt to recent changes in lifestyle increased by four percentage points in 2020 from 2018 (24% versus 20% in 2018).

While cash remains the leading form of payment for home renovations (85%), the share of homeowners opting to finance their projects with credit cards fell significantly to 12% (from 19% in 2019). Millennials are more likely to use credit cards than older generations, who can supplement their savings with cash from previous home sales.

Millennials step up spending

Median renovation spend among Millennials (ages 25-39) jumped 70% in 2020 compared with 2019 (£17,000 versus £10,000), surpassing older generations who historically reflected higher median spend. Gen Xers (ages 40-54) and Baby Boomers (ages 55-74) followed in median renovation spend (£15,000 and £14,000, respectively). That said, the top 10% of project spend for Gen Xers surpassed Millennials (£120,000 versus £106,400).

Major changes to the kitchen

Two-thirds of homeowners made major changes to their kitchens, such as changing the layout of the kitchen and upgrading plumbing, electrical or heating (64 and 63%, respectively). Two in five homeowners reframed, moved or added walls, and increased the size of the kitchen during renovations (44 and 42%, respectively). More than half of homeowners replaced all appliances in their newly renovated kitchens (51%). Other improvements made to the kitchen include new wall colour or texture, worktops, lighting, cabinets and flooring (78, 78, 78, 77, 77%, respectively).

Outdoor projects heat up

While interior room renovations remain the most common projects (70%), outdoor areas have increased in popularity over the past year, with 2020 showing a 13 percentage point increase (60%) among renovating homeowners. Nearly two in five homeowners pursued their projects due to an outdated or undesirable design or style (39%). Other challenges addressed by homeowners include outdoor spaces that were poorly laid out or difficult to work, play or entertain in (34 and 21%, respectively).

Improvements to outdoor spaces were directed towards the grounds, with beds or borders and planters or planter boxes seeing significant growth in popularity (36 and 31%, respectively). Exterior upgrades, such as fences, patios or terraces and decks, also increased in popularity in 2020 (26, 24 and 16%, respectively). One in six renovating homeowners upgraded their outdoor shed or workshop (18%).

Homeowners hire more than one pro for help

Nearly nine in ten homeowners hired professional help for their renovations in 2020 (88%). Among professionals hired, electricians, plumbers, painters and carpenters were the most common (58, 47, 34 and 34%).

Marine Sargsyan, Houzz senior economist, said: “While the pandemic caused initial concern for the residential renovation industry, many homeowners finally had the time and financial means to move forward with long-awaited projects in the past year.

“This pent up demand, along with long-standing market fundamentals empower homeowners to continue investing in their current homes.”

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