Move or Improve?

The number of homeowners choosing to stay put and invest in their existing property instead of moving has increased five-fold in the past five years, according to a new report from specialist insurer Hiscox.

And where homeowners once climbed a well-defined housing ladder to reflect their changing personal circumstances, the shortage of supply and spiralling cost of housing means that journey is no longer as predictable, or for many, as achievable. For a growing number of us, staying put and renovating is a more straightforward and economical alternative to moving.

Consequently, people are looking at ways to adapt their existing homes to meet their changing needs, whether that’s a growing family or the beginnings of a new home business.

So let’s see who is staying put and what their renovation priorities are.

1. Over a quarter (27%) of London homeowners are choosing to stay put and renovate in the last year

Compared to just 9% in the East of England.


2. Millennial homeowners (under 35s) are most likely age group to stay put

Over a quarter (26%) of millennial homeowners (18-34 year-olds) opted to renovate rather than move in the last 12 months, compared to only 8% of their older (over 55) counterparts.

3. Bathroom is revealed as top renovation priority, followed closely by kitchen

With 54% of homeowners either currently undertaking an update or planning one. The kitchen is not far behind at 51%.


4. Garden renovations are blooming

On the rise are garden makeovers which have seen the most growth at 29%. Overall, bathroom and kitchen renovations are still the most popular, but garden renovations are now the third most common home improvement.

5. Huge rise in demand for loft conversions and extensions

Overall, the last decade has seen a near one third (29%) rise in the number of planning permission requests made in the UK.

Loft renovations lead the way with an increase of 114% from 2008 to 2017, closely followed by living room extensions (113%).

In the London boroughs of Redbridge and Harrow (the UK hotspots), one in every 28 households made a planning permission application last year.

6. Eco-features and smart technology among top trends

When it comes to eco-renovations, millennials lead the way with 20% of those who are renovating including eco-features, fabric or technology.

One in four (27%) of the same age group is also pioneering the adoption of smart home technology such as thermostats and light bulbs compared to only 10% of 35-54 year-olds and 15% across all age groups.


7. Renovating for Returns

  • Extending a property with the addition of a new bedroom takes the top spot, boosting a typical home’s value by 11.2% or £25,383 based on an average UK house price of £226,0713.
  • A loft conversion is only marginally less value adding at 10.8%.
  • Extensions that add a new kitchen-diner boost a home’s value by to a similar extent (10.8%).
  • Renovating an existing kitchen space typically adds 5.5% to the price of a property, which is just shy of the 6.0% estate agents expect a new conservatory to deliver.
  • At the lower end of the spectrum, investment in a new roof is expected to increase a home’s value by 3.1%, which is also the estimated impact of all-over basic redecoration.