Young woman takes five while moving home

31 October 2014

Householders confirm there really is no place like home

We are a nation of aspiring “home improvers” according to a new survey from one of the UK’s largest building societies.

Homeowners in England and Wales are not afraid to make changes to get the house they want after a whopping 98.5% told Principality Building Society there is something about their homes that they would like to improve.

But it would seem such efforts are completed out of a genuine love and pride for our properties, with many only wanting small changes to their homes.

Of the improvements at the top of the wish list, almost a third (29%) confirmed that size does matter by admitting they’d choose to expand their homes. Whilst, it was location, location, location for the 15% who’d opt to change the location of their home, while a further 15% would choose to improve their garden. Interestingly, almost one in ten (8%) would elect to change their neighbours given the chance.

Commissioned to gauge homeowners’ attitudes towards their homes and mortgages, the study of 1000 homeowners also revealed that the kitchen has lost its position as the heart of the home as residents in England and Wales are smitten with their lounges.

More than half (57%) now feel most comfortable in the living room, where spending time with family (50%) and watching television (90%) are the two most popular activities. Only one in ten claim to feel most at ease in the kitchen.

TV presenter and host of BAFTA Winning BBC property series ‘Hot Houses’ Amanda Protheroe-Thomas said the results of Principality’s Your House Mortgage Survey were a fitting reflection of her home nation, which is well-known for taking pride in the diversity of its cultural and physical habitat, as well as some of its most famous landmarks.

The Carmarthen-born home improvement expert, who has renovated an old vicarage and Victorian townhouse among other properties in her time, said: “It comes as no surprise to me that a land so rich in culture and with such a diverse landscape should discover its people to be a nation of house proud home improvers.

“Home improvements have seen a resurgence in recent years as the downturn in the property market has led homeowners to invest in enhancing their existing homes rather than search for a new one. Extensions, conservatories, new kitchens and garden landscaping have all become popular choices for those homeowners looking to give their homes a welcome facelift.

Amanda continued: “If done properly, these improvements can add significant value to a property and can help make it a more attractive proposition for any prospective buyer in the future. Unfortunately, improving your neighbours can often be a stretch too far!”

The survey also found that beige is most definitely not boring, with 55% preferring magnolia and neutral tones in their homes as opposed to the 8% who think bright is best and favour lively citrus colours.
Despite a conservative approach to décor it seems no dream is too big for homeowners in England and Wales either, with a swimming pool (30%), fully equipped gym (12%) and hot tub (12%) coming top of the ‘out-of-this-world’ home improvements category.

A Star Trek ‘holodeck’, a self-cutting lawn and an internet enabled kitchen which did the grocery shopping were among the more inventive ‘out of this world’ improvements desired, while the Welsh lived up to their sport-loving reputation after residents there were more likely to go for a full size rugby or football pitch in their garden than respondents based in England.

Julie-Ann Haines, Customer Director at Principality, said: “For most of us home is most definitely where the heart is but it’s interesting to see that in England and Wales this is something we have taken on quite literally.

“The survey has shown us that as homeowners we are proud of where we live but we are also clearly aspirational when it comes to adapting and expanding the homes we love so dearly to meet our ever changing needs.”

 Julie-Ann continued: “So whilst things on their wish list might only ever be a pipe dream, it’s important to remember careful spending and budgeting can go a long way for freeing up money for home improvements in the future.

“This survey has given us a wonderfully light-hearted look into the hearts of homeowners in England and Wales, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that regular discussions with a mortgage advisor can help homeowners explore ways for unlocking equity to invest in creating the house of their dreams.”

Published: 31/10/2014