Published On: Tue, Apr 28th, 2015

National home improvement figures increased in 2014 with Southern England still dominating

planningHome improvement applications increased by 12 per cent on average across the UK in 2014, according to the recently released Barbour ABI home-improver analysis. London continued its dominance with the biggest home improvement growth in 2014, increasing by 27 per cent and with the top three UK local authorities for the number of home improvement planning applications received.

All regions saw an increase in planning applications last year but northern regions continued to lag behind southern England with the North East, North West and Scotland all three times below the average in London.

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) family spending survey suggests that UK households spent approximately £920 in 2013 on housing alterations and improvements but this varied throughout the country. Total spend across the UK ranged from £500 in the North East and Yorkshire & Humber, to £1,600 in the South West and just a £1000 in London. These figures can be attributed to homeownership being far lower in London than in the South West and equity-rich retirees who move out of London and spend significantly on home improvement.

Michael Dall, Lead Economist at Barbour ABI, stated: “With the exception of London, the rate of planning applications for home improvements is greater in boroughs where refusal rates from planning authorities for new homes are higher. “Combined with equity and income, these three drivers for home improvement are the most logical reasons from our analysis as to why the majority of southern England is outperforming the North for home improvement.”