Brits get festive in pre-Christmas home improvement frenzy

According to new research from AA Financial Services, Brits are set to spend record amounts on home improvements - not on presents under the tree - in the run up to the big day this year.

Related topics:  At Home
Warren Lewis
3rd December 2018

The new homeowner research dispels the myth that Brits wait until the summer months to improve their homes – as a festive DIY stampede is on the cards as people get their homes ready for family visits and entertaining over the festive season. Overall, almost half of homeowners (49%) are planning a home improvement project before Santa comes to town – and will draw an average of £2,339.46 from their savings to fund it, most people are raiding their nest eggs rather than borrowing money to fund their festive projects

Concluding its year-long study of the house moving and home improving habits of British adults, AA Financial Services asked a national representative sample of 2,038 UK homeowners what, if any, home improvement projects they planned before the end of the year, what they planned to spend - and where the money would come from.

The most popular festive improvements

The paint brushes and dust sheets will be out in force in the weeks ahead with 41% of homeowners planning some last-minute decorating before the tree goes up.

At a time of year when gardeners are less in demand, 18% of respondents said they will be commissioning landscaping projects to get their garden and drive in shape for 2019. And for 12% of respondents, getting the kitchen upgraded was the top priority, even if it added to the domestic chaos during the Christmas countdown.

The projects attracting the biggest spend

The average planned spend on work relating to an extension was £12,902 – with 15% spending more than £20,000. Plumbing and insulation work attracted significant spend for those getting their home ready for the winter chill. The research also gave an early indication that the evolving interest in electric cars will have a profound effect on home improvement spend in the future. Whilst only 3% of respondents said they planned to install an electric car charges in their property, the scale of spend was second only to major building projects (£3,479).

Where the money is coming from

Improvements around the home are never cheap, especially at this time of year. When asked how they plan to fund home improvements, people were more likely to draw on their savings (49%) than to rely on finance (17%). Interestingly, those looking for unsecured finance were three times more likely to say they would max out their credit card rather than apply for a personal loan at a much more competitive APR.

Families, those with greater and varied pressures on their disposable income, were more likely to borrow to fund home improvements - with parents of bigger families (households with three or more children) more likely to rely on store finance.

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