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The Halifax Home Improvement Survey 2000

HOME IMPROVERS LOOKING TO INCREASE THE VALUE OF THEIR PROPERTIES - HALIFAX SURVEY REVEALS

Home owners are keen to carry out improvements that will add value to their homes and make them easier to sell, according to the latest Halifax Home Improvements Survey (see Editors' Notes).

Adding value is the main motivation for 2 in 5 of today's home improvers (40% compared to 33% in 1998 and 28% in 1996).

Double glazing continues to be the most popular home improvement for 1 in 3 home owners, while 8 in 10 of those who wish to add value to their homes feel it will help sell their property.

Overall, the number of customers who made improvements in the last 12 months has remained steady at 38%, the same as in 1998. Of those who revealed how much they spent on improving their homes, 12% said they spent between 2,000 and 4,000 on improvements.

Top home improvements:

Overall
To help sell a property
  1. Double glazing
  2. Fitted kitchen
  3. Garden improvements
  4. New bathroom
  5. Home security
  1. Double glazing
  2. Central Heating
  3. Fitted kitchen
  4. Garage
  5. New bathroom
(No change from 1998)

Younger people aged 24-34 and those who've been in their homes for up to five years are most enthusiastic about carrying outhome improvements, and also people in the northern regions (46%).

Garden improvements, although still a main priority, has not changed over the last two years (23% vs 23% in 1998). Home owners are becoming increasingly energy-conscious with 1 in 10 now improving to reduce fuel bills. More women than men choose to improve their homes with a fitted kitchen (28% and 21% respectively), which they also believe is a strong selling feature (77% versus 68% men).

REASONS FOR IMPROVEMENTS:

  1. Add value to the home (2)
  2. Improve standard of living (1)
  3. Reduce fuel bills (3)
  4. Increase saleability of home (5)
  5. Don't want to move (6)
(1998 position in brackets)

Add value to the home has increased year on year and is now the most popular reason for making home improvements, especially where men are concerned (48%), and people aged 45 or more (48%).

Fewer home owners than in previous years feel the need to improve standard of living (37%). Although improvements to reduce fuel bills has increased from 1998 by 4%, fewer people (24%) give this as a reason for improving.

FINANCING HOME IMPROVEMENTS:

Just over half of customers (56%) used personal savings to pay for home improvements. Savings were much preferred by women (62%), whereas men were more likely to finance their improvements with a loan (46%).

The level of borrowing to fund improvements has increased on all fronts, especially with the number of people taking out secured personal loans, which has doubled since 1998.

  1. Home Improvement Loan 18% (15%)
  2. Unsecured personal loan 12% ( 8%)
  3. Secured personal loan 10% ( 5%)
  4. Inheritance 2% ( 3%)
(1998 figures in brackets)

People taking out home improvement loans to finance the work tended to be in the 35-44 year age bracket (30%), and those who had been in their homes between 5 and 20 years.

WHO CARRIED OUT THE WORK:

Most customers still prefer to employ local firms (47%) to carry out improvements, though not as many as in 1998 (53%). Younger people (18-34) were most prepared to tackle DIY improvements (32%), while those in the 35-54 age bracket relied heavily on local firms (56%).

NECESSITY VERSUS DESIRABILITY:

As in the previous survey, customers were asked which features they would most consider to be a necessity or desirable extra should they ever decide to move house.

Women are more likely than men to regard the following as necessities: garden (67% vs 58%), fitted kitchen (61% vs 51%), fitted bedroom (24% vs 16%), and modern bathroom (49% vs 39%). Men, on the other hand, appear more cost conscious, feeling that energy saving features are necessities (24% vs 17%). A conservatory is now the most wanted luxury, pushing up from third place in 1998.

Necessity
Desirable
  1. Central heating (1) (75%)
  2. Garden (2) (63%)
  3. Double glazing (4) (58%)
  4. Fitted kitchen (3) (57%)
  5. Garage (6) (53%)
  6. Modern bathroom (5) (44%)
  1. Conservatory (3) (51%)
  2. Home security (1) (47%)
  3. Garden improvements (2) (45%)
  4. Energy saving (5) (41%)
  5. Fitted bedroom (4) (40%)
  6. Modern bathroom (-) (33%)
(1998 position in brackets)

VALUE/SALE EXPECTATIONS:

What home improvers say:
A quarter of home improvers believe they will get more than the cost of improvements back on the sale of their property, while just under a quarter (24%) think they will get more than half the cost back. Some 18% expect to break even and get the total cost back.

Men are far more optimistic about the value of improvements, with 30% sure they will get more than half the cost back, compared to only 20% of women.

What the valuers say:
Although most improvements add some value to a property, according to a panel of valuers from the Halifax, this may only be a percentage of the actual cost, as shown below:

Where properties are in need of repair, replacements and improvements tend to add more value than where changes are being made purely for personal preference. Properties in high priced areas can benefit more significantly in terms of value from well planned increases in floor space through extensions or loft conversions. However, the impact of all improvements on value is very dependent on suitability for the property size, type, location and existing value.

Commenting on the Halifax Home Improvements Survey, Patrick Sawdon, the Halifax's Chief Valuer, said:

“Our customers have the right idea about improving their properties to make them more attractive to buyers. In the current housing market, home owners who want to move are likely to stand a better chance of selling their homes more quickly if they have been well maintained and are equipped with all the 'must have' features.”

EDITORS' NOTE:

The results of the Halifax Home Improvement Survey were based on questionnaires completed by customers in 120 Halifax branches spread throughout the UK.

Colleys is the specialist valuation and surveying service of the Halifax Group.

Appendix A shows a summary of the type of improvements made nationally and in three regions throughout the UK: South, North and Midlands.

Appendix B summarises the reasons why home owners nationally and regionally have carried out the improvements.

Appendix A

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