Brits spend £110bn on home improvements amid pandemic property boom

·3 min read
Photo of a woman arranging her new apartment
Birtons focussed on home improvements and splashed the cash as they were confined to their homes during coronavirus lockdowns. Photo: Getty

Britons have spent billions of pounds on home improvements during the coronavirus pandemic as the UK's property market steamed up. 

As people were confined to their homes for much of the year amid various pandemic lockdowns, 5 million Brits redecorated rooms in their homes, 1.5 million built an outhouse and over a million built home-gyms and extensions. 

Exclusive data shared with Yahoo Finance UK shows British consumers spent £110.3b ($156bn) on home improvements, an increase of nearly 30% year-on-year. 

The figures from Powered Now also highlights that Brits have spent an average of £2,011 per person on home refurbishments, while the UK property market has witnessed a 10.9% rise in average property value.

According to separate research by Checkatrade, the most common purposes for home renovations over the lockdown period were for shed offices, home cinemas and snugs. 

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted British households to re-evaluate their housing needs, meaning demand for family houses with gardens, parking and extra space to work from home rose.

"The news that consumer spending is through the roof directly correlates from what we have seen on the ground," said Ben Dyer CEO of Powered Now. "We have witnessed tradespeople experiencing their highest client demand ever during the course of 2020, and these figures are very much in line with what we actually would have expected." 

Dyer pointed out that hardware retailers "benefitted" from remaining while non-essential shops were closed. Sales at B&Q rose in March as a new generation of DIY'ers and remote workers spruced up their properties. 

Read more: UK house price growth hits 10% in hottest month in seven years

It comes after recent reports about the UK's stampede to buy homes before the end of the stamp duty holiday — a discount brought in by chancellor Rishi Sunak to support the market under strain from the coronavirus pandemic.

Britain's housing market, boosted by the stamp duty tax break and the 95% mortgage guarantee scheme for first-time buyers, has surged to record highs.

UK house prices rose at the fastest pace in nearly 14 years in March after Sunak announced the extension of the stamp duty holiday. Property prices increased 10.2% in the year to March 2021, up from 9.2% in February this year. This was the highest annual growth rate the UK has seen since August 2007, according to official figures.

Data from the Bank of England also showed mortgage borrowing in the UK hit £11.8bn in March, the strongest month since records began in 1993. The previous peak was in October 2006 at £10.4bn.

Meanwhile, figures released by housing website Zoopla at the end of April showed demand for UK property is up 27.5% year to date in 2021 when compared with average levels in 2020.

Watch: How much money do I need to buy a house?

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