The Renovation Nation Report

Buying a home is always an exciting time, but for those among us who love DIY and interior design, the prospect of buying a property that you can rip apart and start again can be even more thrilling.

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An image of a house under renovation.

The Renovation Nation Report, by the consumer spending experts at, looks at how much homeowners are really spending on their properties, what part of their home they’d change if money was no object and where in England is best to buy a doer-upper.

Renovating a property can often be costly, so you may want to consider a home improvement loan.

Home Renovation Statistics in 2021 surveyed more than 2,000 adults to understand their attitudes toward their homes and what their DIY, time and money have been focused on.

The survey found that over three-quarters (77%) of UK homeowners have spent money on changing or improving their properties this year. And of those homeowners, over half (51%) cited spending more time at home during the pandemic informed their decision to invest in their property.

How much have UK homeowners invested in their properties in 2021? 

When asked, the average UK homeowner admitted to spending an average of £1,473 on home renovations, furnishing and DIY projects in the first eight months of this year. Across the country, that equates to over £21 billion on doing up our properties. 

Where have UK homeowners been focusing their renovation work?

After almost a year of being confined to our homes, it’s perhaps unsurprising that one in five UK homeowners have spent the majority of their home improvement money on their garden.

renovation-nation-statics image

Our love of gardening has clearly blossomed during the pandemic. When asked what home projects they’d invest in if money were no object, a third (32%) of respondents said a garden summer house or work studio and almost a fifth (18%) said a greenhouse or vegetable patch.

This green-fingered trend could be seen across the age groups, with the exception of Gen Z who claimed their kitchen was the room they’d spent the most on in 2021, and a home gym would be the top priority if money were no object.

How have UK homeowners funded their renovation projects?

With many struggling with the impact of lockdown on their finances, were keen to find out how homeowners have afforded the renovation projects they’ve taken on this year.

The majority of UK homeowners we asked cited some form of savings as a way of funding their home improvements, with 20% using money originally intended for holidays, 7% using funds originally intended to purchase a car, and 5% using cash originally intended for an engagement ring.

Why are UK homeowners investing in their properties?

While over half of UK homeowners may have cited the pandemic playing a significant role in their decision to dabble with DIY, were also interested in finding out the reason why so many of us are spending time and money on our homes in 2021.

Over a quarter (27%) of those asked said that spending less money on going out had given them more money to spend on their homes and over a fifth (22%) cited wanting to increase the value of their home.

Need help with your renovation project? These are the locations with the best tradespeople in the UK

We asked the team at RatedPeople to provide us with the average ratings for Builders, Carpenters, Electricians, Painters, Plasterers, Plumbers and Tilers across England. 

Best tradespeople uk

When taking the average score from each, the following locations have the highest rated tradespeople in the UK:

  • Greenwich - 4.94/5

  • Hackney - 4.94/5

  • Hammersmith and Fulham - 4.93/5

  • Bromsgrove - 4.88/5

  • Hillingdon - 4.87/5

But where has the best individual trades?

Best tradespeople by location

While some homes will need all the trades to help complete the project, others will need just a few so below we’ve listed the locations with the highest ratings (5/5) for each of the trades:

The best locations to hire a builder

  • Fareham

  • Fylde

  • Greenwich

  • Hackney

  • Hillingdon

The best locations to hire a carpenter

  • Hackney

  • Hammersmith and Fulham

The best locations to hire an electrician

  • Hackney

  • Allerdale

  • Bromsgrove

  • Arun

The best locations to hire a painter and decorator

  • Highland

  • Fylde

The best locations to hire a plasterer

  • Fylde

  • Hammersmith and Fulham

  • Greenwich

  • Barking and Dagenham

  • Hackney

The best location to hire a plumber

  • Ceredigion

The best locations to hire a tiler (all 5/5):

  • Allerdale

  • Craven

  • Greenwich

  • Kettering

  • Barrow-in-Furness

  • Hackney

  • Cornwall

  • Arun

  • South Lakeland

  • Folkestone and Hythe

  • Burnley

  • Hillingdon

  • Hammersmith and Fulham

  • Basingstoke and Deane

  • Corby

  • Richmondshire

  • North Lincolnshire

  • Great Yarmouth

  • Hastings

  • Ryedale

  • Scarborough

  • Broxbourne

  • Dorset

  • Fylde

Where in England is best to undertake a home renovation project?

For those already owning their own property, the lockdowns over the past two years have presented a great opportunity to get to grips with DIY jobs which may otherwise have been pushed aside. 

But where in England would be best if you’re a prospective first-time buyer looking to flip a house or an existing homeowner ready to take on a whole new project? has analysed the following factors to reveal England’s best renovation location:

  • Average property value

  • Number of properties listed as renovation opportunities

  • Planning permission approval rate

  • Average tradespeople reviews

map showing the best places for house renovations in the UK

Allerdale has been named England’s top renovation hotspot. With a planning application approval rate of 97%, an average property price of £178,000 and tradespeople averaging over 4.8/5 rating, this could be the place to go if you’re looking to buy, flip and sell a property.

In second place is Redcar and Cleveland. Properties in Redcar and Cleveland cost, on average, £140,000 and the latest data shows 95% of planning permission applications were accepted by the local planning authority.

England’s third best renovation location is County Durham. With the average property costing £120,000 and tradespeople averaging 4.75/5, this may be an ideal location to purchase your very own doer-upper.

Updated 20 April 2023
LocationAverage House Price Score (/25)Renovation Opportunities Score (/25)Planning Approval Rate Score (/25)Average Tradespeople Reviews Score (/25)Total Score (/100)
1. Allerdale19.623.624.123.891.1
2. Redcar and Cleveland23.823.721.716.685.9
3. County Durham24.717.824.317.784.4
4. North Devon13.022.823.224.383.2
5. North East Lincolnshire23.621.122.914.682.1
6. Liverpool23.424.912.420.681.3
7. Plymouth18.724.316.621.180.6
8. Sefton18.322.817.821.580.3
9. Doncaster23.719.719.117.579.9
10. Salford18.724.618.218.279.6
11. Derby20.221.121.615.978.8
12. North Lincolnshire22.321.513.419.776.9
13. Copeland24.
14. Sheffield19.723.412.520.876.4
15. Wolverhampton20.823.918.912.476.0
16. Blackburn with Darwen24.523.
17. East Staffordshire16.313.724.019.973.8
18. Nottingham21.811.520.718.872.8
19. Amber Valley18.022.621.310.772.7
20. Rotherham22.313.212.923.872.1

Where is the best place to buy a doer-upper in London?

Greenwich has been named the best borough for buying a renovation project in London. Average property prices in the borough cost £450,000 and tradespeople average an almost perfect 4.9/5.

Where are the most renovation opportunities in England?

According to Zoopla, the following locations have the highest percentage of homes that are listed as a renovation opportunity:

  • Liverpool - 19.2% of listings

  • Falkirk - 14% of listings

  • Cornwall - 10.8% of listings

  • Plymouth - 10.6% of listings

  • Copeland - 9.3% of listings

Where has the highest planning application approval rate?

We analysed the latest planning application data to reveal the top locations if you’re looking to reconfigure your home.

Of the 280 locations we analysed, here are the top five locations in England:

  • Copeland - 98.71% approval rate

  • Torridge - 97.57% approval rate

  • Carlisle - 97.44% approval rate

  • County Durham - 96.82% approval rate

  • Knowsley - 96.74% approval rate

At the other end of the scale, these are the worst five locations for planning application approvals:

  • Barking and Dagenham - 61.34% approval rate

  • Watford - 65.84% approval rate

  • Hillingdon - 64.20% approval rate

  • Brent - 66.64% approval rate

  • Croydon - 67.86% approval rate

Methodology & sources asked 2,005 UK homeowners about their home renovation spending habits in August 2021.

Number of households data was collected from the latest government data sources:

England (2019), owner occupied.

​​Scotland (2018) Stock by Tenure 2018, owner occupied

Wales (2020), , Dwelling stock estimates by year and tenure, owner occupied

Northern Ireland (2020), Northern Ireland Housing Statistics 2019-2020, 70% owned outright or with mortgage of 807,812 total dwellings.

Across, the UK, we estimate there are 18,727,492 homeowners. 

Using the figure that 76% of UK homeowners spent money on renovations in 2021. estimates this is equivalent to 14,356,496 homeowners. Using the average spending figure of £1,473, then estimated this is the equivalent of £21,147,118,128 spent on home renovations.

Renovation hotspots in England:

Data for the number of properties listed as renovation opportunities was taken from Zoopla:

House price data refers to the latest ONS data on Median house prices for administrative geographies. Table 2a. Year ending March 2021.

Planning permission approval rate was taken from District planning application statistics (PS2) - last 4 quarters to September 2021. Acceptance rate was calculated using the total of all planning applications with decisions over the four quarters versus the total of all granted planning applications over the four quarters.

Average tradespeople review was provided by Rated People. We asked for the average ratings of the following trades across England: Builder, Carpenter, Electrician, Painter, Plasterer, Plumber and Tiler.

About Salman Haqqi

Salman is our personal finance editor with over 10 years’ experience as a journalist. He has previously written for Finder and regularly provides his expert view on financial and consumer spending issues for local and national press such as The Express, Travel Daily, and The Daily Star.

View Salman Haqqi's full biography here or visit the press centre for our latest news.

About Salman Haqqi

Salman is our personal finance editor with over 10 years’ experience as a journalist. He has previously written for Finder and regularly provides his expert view on financial and consumer spending issues for local and national press.

View Salman Haqqi's full biography here or visit the press centre for our latest news.