Homeowners 'improve rather than move'

Published:  06 July, 2011

Increasing numbers of homeowners are deciding to improve rather than move home, according to new research from The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, which could provide new opportunities for tradesmen.

Overall, 48% of chartered surveyor estate agents questionned revealed the slow sales market is prompting people to improve their properties rather than move.

Across the UK, this was most prevalent in areas where the property market is more depressed, such as Northern Ireland, where 75% were improving rather than moving, and in the West Midlands (71%).

However, even in more buoyant areas such as London, buyers are facing high property prices which are also prompting them to stay in their homes.

For those undertaking work to their homes, 44% of surveyors reported additional bedrooms were the improvement which added the most value. Traditional improvements such as adding a new bathroom or kitchen were the next most valuable, at 18%. Adding a conservatory, or reinstating period features were seen as desirable optional extras, but not ones which add value.

Surveyors also noted that costs incurred for improvements will not always be covered by the potential increase in a property’s value, as this also depends on the quality of work and other features of the property, such as its style and location.

David Dalby, professional groups director at RICS, said: "Costly disappointments can be avoided by prior planning and research. RICS advise that whatever you decide to do with your home you should seek professional advice and ensure all works are carried out by qualified contractors.”

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