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The cost to improve, not move, soars

3 months ago
The cost to improve, not move, soars

Move or improve? It’s a conundrum many homeowners face when the property market changes. For those thinking of staying put with an idea to extend, convert or perhaps replace their kitchen, it’s worth pricing up any improvements before you commit.

The same goes for property renovators and ‘flippers’ who are hoping to upgrade the value of a property by making alterations. Adding value and making a profit very much depends on the cost of materials and labour, twinned with the state of the property market.

The latest Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report 2023 reveals the cost attached to many popular projects. Its figures and findings are the result of the analysis of more than 1 million home improvement jobs posted on its own website between 2020 and 2022, analysis of official Government data on the cost of construction and building materials, analysis of PriceBuilder’s data on the rising cost of home improvement and renovation jobs, and a UK-wide survey of more than 2,315 tradespeople, homeowners and residents.

The report found making home improvements to increase a property’s value was the second most common reason for undertaking work, only beaten by the 21% of those questioned who wanted to feel less embarrassed about their home.

Those not so keen on DIY will need to factor in the rising cost to book skilled professionals. When asked, 86% of tradespeople say they’ll need to put their prices up in 2023, compared to 81% who raised their fees in 2022. It’s easy to understand why home improvements are more expensive – 92% of the trades questioned expect their costs to increase further this year. Of those, 9 out of 10 will need to pass rising costs on to customers.

Drilling down into who may increase their prices this year, Rated People identified bathroom fitters as the tradespeople most likely to become more expensive. They were followed by electricians, plumbers, roofers, carpenters/joiners and tilers. In fact, the top 12 trades who expected to increase their prices are all instrumental in property renovations and remodelling.

In 2022, homeowners spent just over £25,000 on their renovation projects, but in 2023, they’re budgeting almost £30,000 for the same work to account for rising costs. Some home improvements had seen a noticeable jump in cost when Rated People collaborated with PriceBuilder.

For example, in 2021, a dormer loft conversion would have cost around £50,000, on average. Now, homeowners can expect to pay 20% more for the same work – at a cost of around £60,000. Other home improvement projects that have also increased in cost include garden rooms (+11%); single storey extensions (+11%); slate and tile roofs (+11%); dividing a room with a partition wall (+9%); installing new flooring (+5%) and installing a new kitchen (+5%).

The increasing expense of materials is the top reason for price increases, although more expensive operational costs, such as fuel and insurances, workforce shortages and increasing staff wages are also behind trades revising their prices upwards.

The materials that were more expensive to buy in 2022, when compared to 2021, include concrete reinforcing steel bars (+44% higher); fabricated structural steel (+34%); pre-cast concrete products (+26%) and insulating materials (+24%). Even small elements, such as metal screws, have risen in cost by as much as 18%. Sadly, it appears materials costs are still a problem, with 67% of tradespeople saying it will impact them in 2023. In fact, one carpentry supplier said it had seen the cost of materials rise by as much as 5% each week in recent months.

The volatility of the above has led to a new, emerging trend relating to the validity of tradespeople’s quotes. In the past, trades had been able to make their quotes valid for 30 days but with the cost of labour and materials rising unpredictably, some trades are reducing their quote’s validity period to just 10 days. After then, they will reprice and there is no guarantee that the cost to complete the job won’t rise.

If you are considering home improvements instead of moving home, get in touch once you have a quote. We can establish whether it’s actually better value-for-money to buy a property that’s already improved, especially as we’re finding house prices have stabilised and mortgage rates have started to fall. We’ll value your current home and show you what’s available within your budget, so you know what’s possible.

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