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AA Study Reveals Significant Summer Expenditure on Home Improvements

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The average British household spent an average of £2,634 on home improvements in the three months to September. Despite Brexit uncertainty, a weak pound and an interest rate rise, Brits invested an astonishing £71 billion into their homes – and half of it (49%) was funded from people’s rainy day savings, according to new research by AA Financial Services.

Is watching paint dry really more exciting than football?

Proving that DIY is a true national past time, more people got the paintbrush out than watched the FIFA World Cup this summer. Set against the estimated 20 million people who tuned in to see England reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1990, half the population got busy redecorating the house this summer – the most popular (and least expensive) form of DIY over the last three months.

Make rooms while the sun shines

Whilst re-decorating was the most popular pastime, the big money went on extensions – and a good summer it has been for building work, with the longest spell of hot weather since records began. Whilst only 5% of adults said they were investing in an extension project, it was the biggest single area of spend – those extending spent an average of £11,014, with 23% spending more than £10,000. 

Ready, steady cook!

The West Midlands was driving the nation’s love affair with mod-con kitchens, where almost one in five people were giving the heart of the home a makeover (19%). Nationally, 43% of those investing in a kitchen where spending more than £5,000 and it was the home improvement that was most likely to be funded from people’s savings (55%).

A Winter’s Tale

With dark nights drawing in and clocks soon going forward, many people spent the summer months winter-proofing their home. The average household invested £2,059 improving insulation and more than £1,300 upgrading the pipework. London, a city known to drive the property market and be the home of millionaires now also has a new claim to fame: it’s the place where homeowners get most excited about plumbing! 

A Partridge and a Pear Tree

At a time when most people are storing away the garden furniture for next summer, homeowners in Alan Partridge’s East Anglia have started investing money in garden landscaping - an autumn rush to the garden centre was on the cards for 19% of respondents in East Anglia. 

Where’s the money coming from?

The family bank: almost one in five respondents (18%) turned to family members to borrow money to fund their home improvements. The Bank of Mum And Dad (or sister and brother) has overtaken the high street bank (16%) when it comes to borrowing money to finance home improvements. 

House of cards: projects such as updating tech (17%), making the home environmentally friendly (14%) or putting in a new bathroom (12%) were areas were people were likely to fund a project on their credit cards. Overall, people in London were the most likely to put home improvement spend on their plastic (12%). 

Loch Ness Piggy: People in Scotland were the most likely to raid their savings to fund home improvements (55%).

David Searle, the AA’s Director of financial services commented: “People often look at house prices as a barometer of economic confidence but, in truth, what people do with their homes when they are not actually moving is far more telling. 

“Home improvements are expensive but they are a discretionary form of spend. 

“People invest in them when they have underlying confidence and they can cancel plans quickly when fortunes change. The extent of activity and the level of home improvement spend in the last three months suggests people have confidence in property, their jobs and their home – irrespective of the broader economic picture.

“How people are funding their home projects is interesting on a number of levels. 

“Borrowing money from family members can put tensions on relationships and the seemingly heavy reliance on savings should be measured because people need to protect their nest eggs for a rainy day. There are many options out there to get good finance deals and at the AA we pride ourselves on giving customers a service experience that is different to a high street bank - and from a brand people trust. 

“Our savings, mortgages and personal loan products are good value and we encourage people to challenge us to beat the deals they currently have – and save them some money in the process. Who knows, the savings might just finance the next trip to the DIY store!”

Table 1: Home improvements and spend levels (for the 3 months to 30 September 2018)

Type of home improvement% doing thisAverage planned spendThe big spendersWho’s most likely to be doing it
5%£11,10423% over 10KEast Mids & North West 8%
New kitchen15%£3,98243% over 5k7% over 10KWest Mids 19%
New bathroom15%£2,24833% over 5K5% over 10KEast 20%
Insulation10%£2,0598% over 5KWest Mids 13%
Making home environmentally friendly5%£1,96410% over 5kNorth West 8%
Upgrade plumbing10%£1,3962% over 5KLondon 13%
Redecorating48%£8201% over 5KNorth East 52%
Landscaping23%£7961% over 5KEast27%
Upgrading tech15%£4520% over 5kEast Mids 19%

Challenge the AA to help you reduce the cost of your mortgage at

Source : Insight DIY Team and AA

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11 October 2018

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