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News: The land of grand designers

Fri, 23 Nov 07

The seemingly insatiable appetite of Brits to improve their homes shows little sign of abating...

Results from a new study show that around 11 million households have a grand design in mind for their current property, totalling an estimated £153 billion in total to complete. The average project is expected to weigh in at £13,800.

Research by Halifax Home Insurance found the garden is the clear favourite area for a makeover - cited by one-in four of households. Bedrooms followed with 15%, bathrooms and kitchens were next with 14% each, followed by double glazing (6%) and loft conversions (6%).

Interestingly, the research finds that each year almost one million (847,000) British households improve their home after being inspired by the home of a friend relative or neighbour. The research shows this cost of ‘Henvy,’ home envy, to be around £9.9 billion each year.

In light of all this planned home improvement activity, Halifax Home Insurance is reminding homeowners that projects can easily go wrong – especially if you are not qualified for the job in hand. Indeed over 4.1 million households admit to a bodged DIY job over the past ten years - costing £670 million per year to fix.

DIY disasters

Despite this, research shows that 36% of homeowners in Britain do not have buildings insurance and 22% have not purchased home contents insurance either, leaving them totally exposed should they accidentally damage their home or contents whilst carrying out a DIY task.

Halifax Home Insurance’s senior manager of underwriting, Vicky Emmott, said: “Whilst well planned and executed home improvements can add significant value to a home, getting it wrong can be a disaster.”

“We’d advise anyone planning any major improvements to their home to employ qualified and reputable tradesmen, rather than going it alone. Indeed trying to tackle certain areas that you are not qualified for, such as electrics or plumbing, could invalidate your home insurance and leave you liable for the cost of any subsequent damage.”

Homeowners in the South East and Anglia would like to spend the most money improving their home with a grand design – with an average spend of £27,000 and £26,600 respectively. Those living in Wales and the West Country would like to spend least with an average of £3,733 per project.

Midland Meltdown

Overwhelmingly, homeowners in the Midlands spend the most money as a result of Henvy, with a massive average expenditure of £23,900 per home improvement project. Those in Scotland were less impressed by their peers spending a much smaller average of £3,800 to emulate another’s home.

Homeowners in the Midlands appear to be the worst at DIY spending some £272 million each year rectifying bodged DIY jobs. North of the border the handy Scots take the accolade of DIY champions only spending a lowly £4.6 million on DIY mistakes – costing an average of £146 each time.

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