Ever since March, the majority of people will have been spending a lot of time at home. It appears that many of them have been putting that time to good use carrying out home improvements. Here’s what you need to know.
May was the start of home improvement season
According to the Office of National Statistics, May saw a 42.0% increase in activity from household goods stores. It attributes this to the reopening of hardware, paints and glass stores. The Kingfisher Group (owners of B&Q) agrees. It saw like-for-like sales jump by 21.6% in the three months to 18th July. Online sales increased by 200% in both May and June. The most popular purchases were paint, wallpaper, plants and compost.
The 2020 Renovation Nation Report, by mortgage comparison site money.co.uk surveyed homeowners on what improvements they had been making and why. It also asked people what they would have done if money had been no object. The results provide an interesting insight into what people currently value about their homes.
Comfort is paramount
Out of the 1022 homeowners surveyed by money.co.uk a huge 63% said that they were improving their home because they were spending a lot of time in it and so wanted it to be comfortable. Interestingly 13% of respondents commented that they were anticipating spending even more time in their homes due to the potential of an extended lockdown.
The other two main reasons were to increase the value of the home (27%) and because the respondent had more disposable income to spend on the home (22%). A further 11% cited “other” reasons although these were not explained.
Staying in looks set to stay
The Renovation Nation Report asked respondents what they would like to see in their post-pandemic dream home. The most highly-wished feature by far was a garden studio at a storming 34%. A greenhouse and/or vegetable patch came in second on 21%. A gym and a leisure room tied for third at 17%. Fourth and fifth places were claimed by an office at 16% and a bar at 14%.
At present, it’s unclear whether this “wishlist” means that people are making an active choice to stay in more or if they are just making sure that they have options if they are forced to do so.
Lessons to take away
These figures indicate what people are valuing now. That is not to say that they will reflect priorities into the future, not even the short-term future. Homeowners should, therefore, be wary of investing significant sums of money in creating these features unless they themselves will benefit from them. That said, homeowners can definitely take them as inspiration for ways they might make their homes more appealing to buyers.
For example, you may not be able or willing to invest the funds into setting up a garden studio, but you could stage your home to show how the dining area could also function effectively as an office. You might even want to consider having proper internet cabling installed as this can give a much more reliable connection than even the best WiFi.