Improving homes wins out over moving

home improvement

Which areas of the country are opting to improve rather than move?

With our love for shows such as Grand Designs and DIY SOS, it’s no surprise that Britain is a nation of home improvers. New research shows that nearly six in ten (59%) UK homeowners are planning to carry out home improvements worth £50.89 billion over the next six months.

Thus, for ‘Home Improvement Month’, online bathroom and shower experts at sought to find out the areas where people are opting to turn their house into a home, instead of moving to a new house, utilising a newly published report from Barbour ABI. found that in Great Britain last year, the number of home improvement plans requiring planning permission rose by 3%.

The study found that in London there were 3.7 planning applications made for every 100 privately-owned homes last year – the most in Great Britain in 2017. Despite this, the number of applications for home improvement dropped below 100,000 for the first time in three years, to 99,100. However, the level remains above the 2014 figure and still represents 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.

Interestingly, residents of London, the South East and the East of England make up around 38% of the population of Great Britain, and they
accounted for a staggering 54% of the 460,000 planning applications for home improvement last year – twice as many applications per person in the greater South East than anywhere else in Britain, on average.

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 in the region for home improvement in 2017, equating to 1.5 for every 100 private homes. 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. The region saw the in 2017.

The North East is the weakest English region for home improvement in England. The study 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.

In addition, for comparison to England, 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.

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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