The Top Home Improvements Revealed
Homeowners became more focused on improving their homes and gardens during the lockdown in 2020, as they were forced to spend more time at home, and with the housing market closed for part of the year, the only alternative to moving to a larger house was to improve their current property.
Research from Barbour ABI revealed that planning applications to develop garages were up by 25.3 per cent, extensions by 4.3 per cent, while conservatories fell by 20.9 per cent and loft conversions by 2.3 per cent, according to Zoopla.
The study also found there was an increase in homeowners seeking to install solar panels as people become more aware of environmental issues and seek more sustainable and self-sufficient ways of living
Extensions accounted for 81.7 per cent of all UK planning applications for homes, particularly in the north of the country, which saw double-digit increases. As house prices outside the capital soar, an extension become a more affordable option than moving home.
Just behind extensions, garage conversions gained popularity, as people sought to convert existing outbuildings, looking for home gyms and offices to work from home. The highest number of applications was in Scotland, but there were also big increases in the East of England and the East Midlands.
Nearly one in five of all improvement applications in London and the South East were for loft conversions, which Barbour ABI attributed to the lack of garden space experienced by homeowners in the capital.
The higher cost of having a loft conversion done compared with an extension meant house prices needed to be correspondingly higher to justify the work.
Conservatories and garden buildings were most popular in the southwest and Wales, reflecting the more rural nature of these regions and the larger gardens of those living there, as well as the popularity of conservatories with those of retirement age.
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