Will you improve or move? - Mortgages - News - Moneyfacts


Will you improve or move?

Will you improve or move?

Category: Mortgages

Updated: 27/05/2014
First Published: 27/05/2014

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

If you're thinking of taking the plunge and buying your next home – perhaps to house a growing family, to take the next step before prices rise further or simply to have the home you've always wanted – there could be one thing holding you back...money.

Even if you've built up a decent amount of equity it still might not be enough to move as far up the ladder as you were hoping, and if you add in the cost of moving it can often make more financial sense to stay put. But that doesn't mean you have to keep things as they are – why not improve your current home to make it the house of your dreams?

An increasing number of people are taking this route, choosing to improve their home rather than move. In fact, 44% of those surveyed by Lloyds Bank have already undertaken major work on their home or plan to do so within the next year, with 33% having specifically made improvements to add value to their property.

It would seem that the desire to improve is even higher among the lower age groups too, with 27% of those aged between 25 and 34 planning work in the next 12 months while an additional 30% have already completed significant home improvements.

The majority of respondents are doing so because they simply can't afford to move home, as in many cases the cost of buying an already refurbished home is far more prohibitive than making the improvements yourself. Improving the look of the house was a key motivator for 40% of respondents, indicating it was as much about making a house a home as it was financial gain, while 22% needed to make improvements out of necessity, such as to accommodate a growing family.

The figures show the sheer number of ways you can improve your home without needing to move, with the top four priorities being:

  1. Additional living space (60%)
  2. New kitchen (40%)
  3. New bathroom (30%)
  4. More bedrooms (28%)

The costs aren't too excessive either, with the majority (32%) spending between £10,000 and £25,000 to make the necessary improvements and a further 22% spending between just £5,000 and £10,000. If you've got sufficient savings it could be preferable to moving outright, and it means you can add a significant amount of value to your home in the process.

As an added bonus, being able to make any improvements yourself means you can have your home exactly how you want it – in essence, you're being given a blank canvas rather than needing to move into a home which was designed with someone else's taste in mind.

Of those that have moved, 18% had to buy a smaller property than they would have liked thanks to rising house prices. "However, this is giving more people an opportunity to undertake home improvements, whether they are trying to maximise the value of their property or even make it more sellable in future," said Marc Page of Lloyds Bank.

It would appear that for those who are actively looking to expand it could be more cost-effective to add in that extra space yourself, but of course, it all comes down to preferences and financial circumstances. There are some things that no amount of improvements can change (such as location), and if you're looking to take the plunge it would be a great time to get on board.

There are still some great mortgage deals to be found which could make the cost of moving far more acceptable, or, if you're still hoping to stay put, why not consider remortgaging after the improvements have been completed?

If you're approaching the end of a fixed term you could well take advantage of the added value (and equity) you've achieved with a far better rate – and it seems that a lot of people are choosing to do so, with additional figures from LMS revealing that this April was the best for remortgage lending since 2008.

In fact, there were 27,152 remortgage loans advanced over the month, totalling £4.4bn (up 28% on April 2013). The typical loan amount reached a new high of £160,806 while the average amount of equity released totalled £15,696, perhaps providing a boost to make further improvements, with 56% of those remortgaging doing so to take advantage of a lower rate.

It could be a great time to join them, so check out the remortgage deals and see whether moving or improving could be best for you.

What next?

Find the best mortgage deals with our whole of market search

Check out the top remortgage deals

Boost your home improvements fund with a fixed rate bond

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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