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FMB study forecasts c. 6bn expenditure on property upgrades

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

Encouragingly, almost 40% of these 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%. More than one in five home owners (22%) cited that the primary reason for their home improvements is being unable to buy a new home, and thus feeling compelled to upgrade their current space.

Home owners are putting families first, as wider motivations include planning for having a family, and parents wishing to boost their children’s’ inheritance in future. 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 – this study suggests more than a million home owners across the country want to build extra space as their children are unable to fly the nest.”

The study also reveals the following insights:
-Half of home owners feel their properties are in urgent need of modernisation to increase its value
-A quarter of home owners in London wish to upgrade in order to let out their spare bedrooms or whole properties
-Home owners 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 home owners 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 home owners 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%), whether their firm is a member of a professional trade association (55%). Over half of home owners 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%).

Berry adds: “FMB's ‘Find a Builder’ matching service is a simple, easy to use online tool to ensure home owners 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.”

Berry 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.”

Source : FMB 

17 October 2014

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