In this two-minute read, I analyse what the most popular home improvement trends tell us about the market.
The pandemic didn’t just trigger an exodus of city slickers moving to the country, it also kick-started a multi-billion-pound home renovation boom.
UK property owners spent £110 billion on home improvements* last year – a 30% increase year-on-year.
While some people kept things simple by giving a few rooms a lick of paint, others embarked on major projects resulting in a 25% increase in planning applications for home extensions.**
What kind of renovations are popular right now? Let’s examine an analysis of planning applications compiled by Barbour ABI.
Most popular home improvements
Applications to develop garages (and turn them into home offices or additional living space) soared by 25%. The trend was most notable in Scotland, where applications rose by 50%.
Garden buildings and works
There was a 7.5% hike in applications, reflecting our growing desire to spend more time in our gardens connecting with nature. (This only represents a small proportion of the garden rooms that were installed, as many did not require planning permission.)
Far and away the most popular type of home improvement requiring planning permission, extensions accounted for 81.7% of all applications – and were up by 4.3%.
Out of favour
It seems the conservatory may have been eclipsed by the garden room/home office as there was a 21% drop in the number of planning applications for conservatories.
Applications for loft conversions dropped by 9%. Historically, loft conversions have been popular in areas such as London, where people develop upwards because they don’t have the space to build outwards. But last year, many homeowners with families left the capital, which might explain why this type of development waned in popularity.
The pandemic has brought about a re-evaluation of how we live, with many people wanting more space – but not just any sort of space. People want the ability to work from home, but to get away from children and distractions, hence the rise in garden rooms and garage conversions instead of more open plan style spaces.
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Harriet George – Matching people with property
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