Homeowners would rather improve than move

home improvements

New evidence suggests that, in England and Wales, many more of us are putting down roots and choosing to stay in our current homes for longer.

It used to be that homeowners moved four times after their first purchase but now it is closer to two.  Research1 carried out by Queen’s University Belfast points to a major cultural change, and highlights that at least a million fewer people moved between 2001 and 2011 compared with 1971 to 1981.


This trend is borne out by recent research from insurer Hiscox2.  They have identified a massive five-fold increase in the number of homeowners who have chosen to renovate their existing home in the last five years. This choice is likely to be influenced by a range of factors such as the continued rise in house prices in some regions, predicted rises in interest rates, additional costs such as stamp duty, a lack of suitable property on the market, tighter mortgage lending criteria and economic uncertainty around Brexit. Additionally, in some parts of the country property prices have hardly moved, meaning that families are held back because they have made little or no profit on their existing home.

It seems therefore that many view home renovations as an easier or more economical alternative to moving. In 2013, the research2 showed that just 3% of homeowners chose to improve as an alternative to moving, but five years later, this figure has risen to 15%.  Local council figures show that requests for planning permission have risen by 29% in the last ten years.


Increasingly homeowners are looking to adapt their property to meet their changing needs, whether that’s an extra bedroom for a growing family, or just extra room for the beginnings of a new home business.  Bathroom and kitchen renovations remain popular, but loft extensions head the list of alterations, and digging out basements to create extra accommodation is becoming increasingly popular, especially in London.


If you’re looking to finance your home improvements or an extension by remortgaging, your best option is always to talk to an independent mortgage adviser.  They can assess your current deal, take your circumstances into account and find you the most suitable deal from the whole of the market – potentially saving you thousands of pounds over the mortgage term.


1 Queen’s University Belfast, Fewer people moved house in the ‘00s than the ‘70s, 2018

2Hiscox, Renovations and Extensions Report, 2018