- Households in the region took out more home improvements loans from Shawbrook Bank than any other UK region in the first quarter of 2019
- The East Midlands saw the biggest spike in home improvement loans in Q1 when compared with the share of borrowing for 2018 as a whole
- Official figures show house prices in the South East increased by just 0.1% in the past 12 months with only London and the East of England experiencing lower growth
The South East is the UK’s DIY capital with households borrowing more for home improvements than anywhere else in the country, new figures from Shawbrook Bank suggest.
Lending data from Shawbrook’s Personal Loans division reveals demand for home improvement loans was higher in the South East than the rest of the UK in the first three months of the year and across the whole of 2018.
More than a sixth (17%) of their lending for home improvements went to borrowers in the South East in the three months to March, although this is down on the share for the whole of 2018 (see Figure 1).
The East Midlands has seen the biggest spike in the first three months of the year compared to 2018, with the share of Shawbrook’s total lending for home improvement loans reaching 12% in Q1 2019.
Notably, the East Midlands has also seen the largest increase in house prices of any English region over the past 12 months.
The most recent official figures from the Office for National Statistics show house prices in the region increased by 4.4% in the 12 months to January 2019.
In contrast, house prices in the South East recorded an increase of just 0.1% during this period. The only regions to register lower growth over the 12 months were London (-1.6%) and the East of England (-0.2%).
Analysis of Shawbrook’s loan data shows the average size of a home improvement loan has increased by 16% when comparing the first quarter of 2019 with the same period for 2018.
The increase in the amount of money Shawbrook’s Personal Loans customers are borrowing to renovate their homes could be due to changes in the value of the pound. Since the EU referendum in 2016 the value of sterling has fallen and therefore the cost of imported goods and raw materials has risen.
Although the cost of home improvements may be on the rise if construction firms are forced to pass on price increases to their clients, there is still value to be made from renovations that are well-planned.
Paul Went, Managing Director of the consumer division at Shawbrook Bank, sets out some top tips for financing home improvements:
- Set yourself a clear budget and think carefully about all the costs involved.
- Explore different financings options to decide which is best for you, it could be savings, a second charge mortgage/secured home improvement loan, an unsecured home improvement loan or by remortgaging
- If borrowing money, shop around to find the best rates and keep abreast of how potential changes to interest rates may affect your costs in the long-term
- Seek a professional valuation to help understand what the potential return on investment might be from the renovations you have planned
- Remember to keep your insurer informed of any home improvements or renovations to ensure that your current policy covers any changes in the value of your property
Figure 1: Share of all home improvement lending by Shawbrook Bank
|Top 10 UK regions||Q1 2019||2018 (12 months)|
|Yorkshire & Humber||9%||9%|
Paul Went, Managing Director of the consumer division at Shawbrook Bank, says:
“As the South East experiences above average house price growth, households in the region are clearly looking to maximise the value of their home by carrying out home improvements.
“Regardless of whether house prices in your region are flat or on the rise, you may still wish to try add value to your home by undertaking some form or home improvements or renovation. Before starting any work, it is important to consider what the total cost will be and the best source of finance for funding the project. There are a range of options available and you should explore which one suits you best before starting your project.
“Moreover, return on investment may not be the primary reason for making
changes to your home but it would be remiss not to look into this by seeking a
 ONS UK House Price Index, January 2019
 ONS UK House Price Index, January 2019