With spring weather brightening our spirits and the long Easter break imminent it looks as if consumers are being bitten by the DIY bug.
Enquiries about loans for carrying out home improvements are up 50% compared with January and February, according to figures from Ocean Finance. With the Easter holidays and two further May bank holidays on the horizon, DIY enthusiasts will have plenty of time to get creative around the house - but have they got the finances sorted?
Home improvements are on the agenda for 41.8% of people over the next 12 months and if you're one of them, you may be looking for a loan to finance the work. Compare deals carefully and work out what you can afford to pay back before committing to a loan – and if you do have savings then always use these first as if you compare the low amounts of interest on savings to the elevated loan rates, it's a no-brainer!
So, what kind of work are people planning to carry out? Decorating a room was the most popular job with 69.1% of DIY enthusiasts planning this, while installing a new bathroom suite was the intention of 17.46% of those surveyed. Fitting a new kitchen was also a popular choice for 16.51%, while 8.49% plan to be laying a driveway this year.
While the main intention may be to improve the property for your own benefit consumers may also benefit from the knock-on effect of it increasing the value of the property as Ian Williams, of Ocean Finance, says: "The cost of moving house can be substantial – especially if you are over the Stamp Duty threshold - so improving or extending your home can be an extremely cost-effective option."
This fact is backed up by a separate study carried out by Nationwide BS who found that one in five homeowners would prefer to extend their existing home, rather than move to a new property – but interestingly this is the case even if money were no object.
Many people become attached to their home and want to remain in the area they know with their friendly neighbours, and this is clearly the case for the 34% who would choose to extend because they like the house they live in and the 22% who would rather improve than sell because they like the area.
Finances come into the equation for 13% who feel extending their home would be cheaper than moving while 11% said they wouldn't be able to afford to move to a new home.
A conservatory would be the most popular choice of extension with 16% planning this, while 13% would convert loft space and a further 12% would build an extension on the ground floor.
Reassuringly, Nationwide's study revealed that over half of the people surveyed (55%) plan to use savings to fund their home improvements rather than turning to credit, however women are more likely to finance their work through loans, credit cards or remortgages (37%), compared to men at 28%.
Richard Napier, of Nationwide, comments: "It's interesting that even if money were no object, some people would choose to improve their property rather than move home. Our research shows that people are remaining in their property not just because they love the area and home they live in, but because they believe home improvements are a cheaper option than moving house.
"With 46 per cent planning to do more costly home improvements in the next 12 months, such as a loft conversion, conservatory or extension, it's encouraging that the majority would use savings rather than credit to fund the work."
If you dream to build that extension or convert that loft but don't want to get in debt to do so, then consider opening a savings account to put some money aside for your project. A regular savings account could encourage you to save if your willpower is not at its strongest but also ensure you take advantage of the tax breaks with an ISA and you'll notice your DIY fund building up in no time.
Alternatively, if you do need a bit of a cash injection, why not make the most of the record low interest rates on personal loans at the moment? Use our loans calculator to work out what you can borrow, and the repayments you will be making, and then compare loan deals to find a competitive offer that will enable you to undertake that spring renovation project.
Compare loan repayments and interest with our easy-to-use loan calculator
Looking to borrow money for home improvements? then you could consider a secured loan
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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