Homeowners set to spend £6bn on property upgrades

Published:  15 October, 2014

Nearly a third of UK homeowners are looking to carry out work on their home in the next three years, with up to £6bn* in projected works planned annually over the next three years, according to a new study from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Driven by Generation Stay - over 1m homeowners (1,050,000) are looking to build extra space to accommodate grown up children who can’t afford to leave home. Families up and down the country are seeking to be more creative with the space in their property with one in five homeowners (22%) investing because of a property plateau which sees them unable to afford to move in to a bigger property despite having a growing family.

Almost 40% of home improvements are set to be major refurbishments, including new kitchens, new bathrooms and home extensions, while smaller works such as loft conversions and conservatories account for 38%.

Homeowners are putting families first, as wider motivations to invest in their property include planning for having a family and parents wishing to boost their children’s’ future inheritance.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, which commissioned the study, said: “We have seen a rising trend of multi-generational households with grown up children opting to stay with their parents while they save money for their own homes.”

The study also revealed:

  • Half of homeowners feel their properties are in urgent need of modernisation to increase its value
  • A quarter of homeowners in London wish to upgrade in order to let out their spare bedrooms or whole properties
  • Homeowners in London, followed by Wales and Yorkshire are most likely to upgrade for stay-at-home kids who haven’t been able to move out
  • Almost half of homeowners in Northern Ireland feel compelled to upgrade their current homes as they cannot afford to move.

The study also shows that when it comes to choosing a builder, one in four homeowners feel out of their depth. Word of mouth remains essential, with personal recommendations (82%) cited as the most common way to choose a builder, followed by trade association websites (36%).

When prioritising how to choose a builder, reliable references comes up top (63%), followed by the cost of the quote (61%), the professional manner when quoting and estimating (59%) and whether their firm is a member of a professional trade association (55%). Over half of homeowners rate knowledgeability as a top priority when discussing the project (54%).

Worries that come up top of the list when choosing a builder are:

  • Fear of being ripped off (55%)
  • Worry that they’ll make major mistakes (29%)
  • Anxiousness that they will disappear before finishing the project (29%).

Mr Berry added: “FMB's ‘Find a Builder’ matching service is a simple, easy to use online tool to ensure homeowners have absolute confidence when choosing a builder. Our members have a minimum of 12 months’ trading history and have passed credit checks, public record and director checks, and all new members must be inspected while a job is in progress before they can join us.”

He concluded: “All our members have also signed up to our stringent Code of Practice and have agreed to abide by our dispute resolution and complaints procedure, including independent adjudication through the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Our builders can offer warranties on their work and all of our members are eligible to join the government-endorsed TrustMark scheme for tradespeople.”

*Based on 17.5m owner-occupied households.

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