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South England Dominated 2014 for Home Improvement

In 2014 home improvement applications went up by an average of 12 percent across the UK, according the home-improver analysis recently released by Barbour ABI.

London experienced the highest growth of home improvement last year, with a 27 percent increase. It also ranked the highest for home improvement planning applications submitted to the top three local authorities in the UK.

All regions throughout the country experienced an increased amount of planning applications, but Northern regions are still behind Southern ones. The North East, North West, and Scotland all report results that are three times below the average London figure.

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey of family spending offers a strong indication that in 2013, households throughout the UK spent around £920 on housing improvements and alterations, but the actual amounts tended to from area to area.

Total spend ranged from an average of £500 in the North East and Yorkshire & Humber to £1000 in London and £1,600 in the South West. These numbers are attributable to the rates of home ownership being far lower in the capital than in the South West, as well as equity-wealthy retirees who move out of the London and spend a lot more on home improvements.

The factors behind each household’s decision to undergo home improvements will vary from one to the other, but one strong reason for the activity in the South East is a higher earnings level. A strong relationship exists between a district’s average earnings and the volume of home improvement plans submitted. More affluent boroughs such as Elmbridge, Sevenoaks, and South Bucks are high on the list of regions, which comes as no surprise to anyone.

Portsmouth, Southampton and Gosport are at the bottom of the list of South East boroughs when it comes to home improvement activity. These districts also happen to have some of the region’s lowest annual earnings rates. For every 100 private homes, local authorities receive less than one application.


Specialists in Construction Insurance

Michael Dall, who is Barbour ABI’s lead economist, said that with the exception of the capital, the planning application rate for home improvements are higher in areas where planning authorities issue more refusals for new homes.

When combined with income and equity, these three catalysts for home improvements are the most logical reasons as to why most of Southern England is surpassing the North when it comes to home improvement.

Barbour ABI, a leading provider of construction data services, employs a full-time lead economist and team of research specialists to distribute commercially relevant insights and unique analyses of developments and trends within the building and construction industry.

Barbour ABI is the preferred provider of Construction New Orders figures to the Government’s Construction and Infrastructure Pipeline as well as the Office for National Statistics. The organisation also supplies construction data for independent entities, such as the Construction Products Association. Headquartered in Cheshire Oaks, Cheshire, Barbour ABI is part of UBM, an events-led communications and marketing services company.


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