Where are the home improvement hotspots in Great Britain?

Warren Lewis
9th May 2018
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Us Brits love a bit of DIY. It's as much a part of a bank holiday weekend as dreadful weather and under-cooked sausages on the BBQ. Millions tune in each week to shows such as Grand Designs and DIY SOS, it's no surprise that Britain is a nation of home improvers.

New research from bathroom and shower experts at, has shown that 59% of UK homeowners are planning to carry out home improvements worth £50.89 billion over the next six months.

In Great Britain last year, the number of home improvement plans requiring planning permission rose by 3% and in London, there were 3.7 planning applications made for every 100 privately-owned homes last year, equating to 99,000 applications in the region – the most in Great Britain in 2017 and representing over 20% of all applications in Britain.

Just after London was the South East, with more than 94,000 applications made in 2017 – 2.9 applications were made for every 100 private homes; higher than the 2016 figure (2.8) and more than the average in Britain (2.1).

The East of England had more than 60,200 applications made in the region, which comes in at 2.7 for every 100 privately-owned homes, the same as 2016, ranking the region third after London and the South East.

In fourth place is the South West of England, where there were more than 46,000 planning applications in 2017, equating to just over 2.1 applications for home improvement for every 100 private homes, the same number for the last three years – the Great British average was just a fraction below.

The East Midlands came fifth, with 28,000 applications for home improvement in the region, or 1.6 for every 100 private properties – an increase of 2% from 2016 and up 26% over the last five years. Yorkshire and the Humber come next, in sixth place, with home improvement planning applications up 5% from 2016 to 2017, raising the total to more than 30,000 (1.6 for every 100 private homes).

West Midlands had submissions rising above 29,000 for home improvement in 2017, equating to 1.5 for every 100 private homes, making them rank in seventh spot. There was a rise of 16% on the previous year, and a growth of 6% in 2017 in the number of applications submitted.

The North West follows at 36,700 planning applications last year, equating to 1.4 for every 100 privately-owned homes, and ranking eighth.

There has been a 7% rise in home improvement applications in Wales in 2017 when compared to the average over the last two years. The number of planning submissions reached 16,000 last year– 1.3 for every 100 private properties, ranking ninth.

Of all regions in Great Britain, the North East sits in 10th position – the weakest English region for home improvement. found that there were just 1.2 applications for home improvement in 2017 for every 100 private homes; significantly lower than the average for Britain.

Furthermore, Scotland has seen the overall number of home improvement applications increase to about 22,000 in 2017 (1.1 for every 100 private homes) – up on 2016 but down on the levels in the three years before. Scotland was the only area outside London to see a decline in home improvement applications. However, it is arguably due to relatively low house prices and sluggish house price growth.

What kind of home improvements are homeowners opting for?

The most popular home improvement among homeowners in Great Britain are ‘extensions’, with 40% of applications made in 2017 – and most prominent in the West Midlands. The second most popular application is for ‘outbuildings’, accounting for 15%. also found that the number of planning applications for conservatories built is on the decline, whereas changing to living rooms have been on the up, over the last five years.

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