From updating kitchens and bathrooms to adding floor space or loft conversions, there are many ways to add value and improve the functionality of a home. However, with the rising costs of materials and skilled labour, it can be challenging to keep house renovation projects within budget.
So, if you're considering renovating your home, it's important to weigh the costs and benefits. You may want to speak to an expert broker who can compare mortgages to find the best financing option for your needs, with remortgaging often a popular option for those funding renovations.
Despite the costs, homeowners are willing to invest in their properties to create the home of their dreams, often prioritising certain areas of the home for renovation.
Money.co.uk’s annual Renovation Nation Report reveals how much is being spent and where are the best places to buy a doer-upper. Here’s a look at how things have changed since last year’s report.
Money.co.uk surveyed 2,000 homeowners in the UK, revealing that 88% had undertaken renovations of some kind in 2022.
There are currently around 18.4 million owner-occupied homes in the UK. Applying the survey results to this figure would mean that approximately 16.25 million homes were renovated in 2022.
People were most likely to spend between £101 and £250 (14%) which suggests minor home improvements. But with almost two-thirds (63%) spending more than this, the estimated average spend comes out at £1,739.
Using the estimate of 16.25 million renovated homes, this would mean that around £28 billion was spent by homeowners in the last year.
Younger people are more likely to carry out renovations overall, with 92% of 25 to 34-year-olds doing so.
However, it’s older homeowners who are the biggest spenders, with 8% of 55 to 64-year-olds saying they spent over £10,000.
Homeowners in Central England are most likely to spend big, with 6% saying they spent over £10,000 in 2022.
However, this was also the region with the least renovations overall, with just over one in 10 (14%) saying that they hadn’t made any major home improvements.
The living room is the area that receives the most attention when renovating, with just under 1 in 5 (19%) saying they spent the most money on updating this communal room.
The garden and kitchen also prove popular, with 16% and 15% of homeowners saying they were their main focus.
Those aged 18 to 24 are most likely to invest in their living rooms (20%), while gardens are more popular choices for older homeowners (21% of 65+ homeowners).
Regionally, there’s a clear preference for living rooms in Northern Ireland (29%). Renovators in Central and South West England (18%) spend the most money on their gardens.
The survey also asked people which areas of the home they would like to renovate the most if money was no object. The kitchen came out on top here, with 27% identifying it as the part of the house that they’d most like to improve. This suggests that while kitchens are often in need of some attention, many feel priced out of making the changes they’d like to see.
If you’re looking to purchase a property to renovate it, there are lots of things to consider.
From getting the best value to ease of securing planning permission, there’s a lot to think about both financially and administratively. But which areas in England offer the best conditions for those looking to renovate?
To find out, money.co.uk has analysed each local authority in England on the following four factors:
Average property price
Planning applications granted
Planning applications made in time (decided within 13 weeks for major applications, eight weeks for minor or other applications, or within any other agreed time limit)
Properties in need of renovation
Taking first place is North East Lincolnshire, which scored well for all four factors. In particular, the area’s average property price places it among the more affordable places to buy a house in England, at just £162,281.
It also benefits from a high planning approval rate (94%) and a high number of properties in need of renovation (4.4%).
North East Lincolnshire includes the towns of Grimsby, Cleethorpes, and Immingham and also has good transport links via the M180 motorway and Humberside Airport.
In second, is Knowsley, Merseyside, which has the highest planning approval rate in the whole country, at 97%.
The area also has a low average property price, at just £178,285, making it great value for those looking to renovate.
Located just outside of Liverpool, Knowsley comprises towns such as Kirkby, Prescot, Huyton and the village that give it its name.
Another area in the North West comes in third place. In fact, each of the top five areas (other than North East Lincolnshire) is located in this region.
Bolton has a high number of planning applications that are approved within their arranged time limits (69%), and like the rest of the top areas, the town scores highly on affordability.
Located in Greater Manchester, the former mill town is known for being the birthplace of comedian Peter Kay and boxer Amir Khan.
If you’re just looking at where you can buy a property the cheapest to renovate, then the most affordable place in the country is Burnley.
Homes in the Lancashire town cost just £117,804 on average, so could be attractive to those looking to flip an existing house for profit. With a strong industrial heritage, Burnley continues to be a centre for manufacturing, with strong links to major cities Manchester and Leeds.
County Durham, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Preston make up the remaining top 5 most affordable regions to buy property.
If your renovations are going to require planning permission, this can sometimes become something of a headache.
However, this isn’t likely to be the case in the Merseyside metropolitan borough of Knowsley, where 97% of planning applications are granted.
On the opposite end of the rankings, Barking and Dagenham has an approval rate of 66%, making the London borough a risky location to fulfil any renovation plans.
Another factor that can hold up your renovation project is delays in getting planning permission approval. Planning departments rely on a whole range of people to make an approval, and unavoidable factors such as staff cuts can cause delays.
The authority that deals with planning applications at the speediest rate is Cheshire West and Chester (followed by neighbouring Cheshire East, with a rate of 81%).
Here, 86% of applications are dealt within 13 weeks for major applications, eight weeks for minor or other applications, or within any other agreed time limit.
If you’re specifically looking to renovate in London, then Bromley is the highest-ranking borough in the capital.
4.5% of properties in the borough require renovation, among the highest rates in the country, while 45% of planning applications are dealt with in time.
Originally part of Kent, the large town of Bromley is now an important retail and commercial centre of Greater London.
Finally, while you can save money by carrying out renovation work yourself, you’re probably going to need to turn to the professionals at some point. But which trades are the most trustworthy according to customer reviews?
In the top spot are painters and decorators, who hold an average score of 4.93 out of 5 on Yell. They were very closely followed by electricians and carpenters/joiners, tied in second place with a score of 4.92.
Plumbers had the lowest average score, although they still scored very highly, with 4.84, suggesting that traders of all types are trusted in the UK to carry out a multitude of renovations.
|Rank||Trade||Average review score /5|
|1||Painter & decorator||4.93|
The cost of a garage conversion in the UK can vary depending on several factors, such as the size and condition of the garage and the complexity of the project.
As a rough estimate, a basic garage conversion in the UK can cost anywhere between £5,000 to £10,000. This might involve simple alterations, such as insulating the walls, adding electrical sockets and lighting, and laying a new floor. However, if you plan to install a bathroom, or kitchen, or add an extra room, it may cost upwards of £20,000 or more.
It's also worth noting that additional costs may be incurred for planning permission, building regulations, and professional fees, such as architect or engineer fees. It's recommended that you consult with a professional builder or architect to obtain an accurate cost estimate for your garage conversion.
You may need planning permission for a kitchen extension depending on various factors such as the size of the extension and the location of the property.
In general, if the extension exceeds your permitted development rights, you will need planning permission. For example, in England, a single-storey rear extension must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than 4 metres (for a detached house) or 3 metres (for other houses). In addition, the height of the extension should not exceed four metres, and it should not cover more than half of the original garden.
However, there are some exceptions to these rules, such as if you live in a conservation area, a listed building, or an area of outstanding natural beauty. In such cases, you may need to apply for planning permission even for smaller extensions.
It is always best to consult with your local planning authority to determine whether your kitchen extension would fall within permitted development rights. You can also seek the advice of a professional architect or builder who can guide you through the planning process.
Renovating a house can be an exciting but daunting task. Here are some of the things you should do to get started:
Define your renovation goals, such as improving functionality, aesthetics, or value.
Set a realistic budget and allocate funds for each aspect of the renovation.
Prioritise the work based on your goals and budget.
Research and plan, including gathering inspiration and consulting with professionals.
Hire experienced and reliable professionals such as contractors or designers.
Obtain necessary permits such as planning permission and building regulations approval from your local government.
Create a clear schedule and communicate regularly with the professionals to ensure a successful renovation.
Money.co.uk surveyed 2,000 homeowners in the UK on November 29th, 2022 via TLF Research.
To estimate the average amount spent per person it was assumed that each respondent who picked an option spent the midpoint of the range for the option – for the highest options (more than £10,000) it was assumed they spent £10,000.
This average saving figure was then used to estimate the total amount spent across the UK.
This was done by multiplying the average saving by the number of households estimated to have carried out renovations (the percentage of people who said that they have done renovations multiplied by the total number of owner-occupied dwellings).
The number of owner-occupied dwellings was sourced from:
England: The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s English Housing Survey data on stock profile (2020).
Scotland: The Scottish Government’s stock by tenure housing statistics (2020).
Wales: StatsWales’ dwelling stock estimates by year and tenure (2020).
Northern Ireland: The percentage of households either owned outright or owned with a mortgage, multiplied by the total number of households, according to the Department for Communities’ Northern Ireland Housing Statistics 2020-21 (Section 1 Tables - Supply) (2019-20).
To show the best places to renovate in England, each local authority was given a normalised score out of ten for each of the following factors, before an average of these scores was taken.
Average property value: Sourced from the latest HM Land Registry UK House Price Index report for November 2022.
Properties listed as renovation opportunities: Using Zoopla’s residential listings from 2022, the volume of properties needing renovation properties was inferred by searching for phrases such as ‘needs renovation’ and ‘fixer-upper’ in listing descriptions. Any authorities with fewer than 1,000 listings will be removed.
Planning permission approval rate: The percentage of granted planning applications in the last four quarters to 30 September 2022, sourced from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s district planning application statistics (PS2) (from the live tables on planning application statistics).
Planning applications decided ‘within time’: The percentage of planning applications decided within 13 weeks for major applications, 8 weeks for minor or other applications, or within any other agreed time limit, also sourced from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s district planning application statistics (PS2) (from the live tables on planning application statistics).
To find the most trustworthy trader, reviews were taken from Yell for each trade, excluding any traders with fewer than ten reviews.