2.2m UK households going green with their home improvement plans

An estimated 2.2M UK households are planning green improvements for their homes this Spring equating to around £16bn in spending, according to new research from AA Financial Services. Green DIY and home improvements ranked higher than installing a new bathroom, adding an extension, or converting a loft/garage or room.

At a time when public investment in home energy efficiency improvements has been cut 58% in England since 2012, the figures suggest that people are taking green matters into their own hands.

Of those that were ‘going green’, over half (57%) were installing double glazed windows, a third (34%) were adding or improving their insulation, 13% were adding solar panels, and 7% were taking measures to become carbon neutral.

On average, these households were planning to spend £7,421 on their energy saving home improvements. 45% were planning on spending up to £5k, while 22% were anticipating spending over £10k, with 10% over £20K. One in five (19%) planned to borrow money to finance these home improvements, with the most common method being credit cards and loans (5% and 5%).

The greenest UK region was the South West, where one in nine (11%) households were planning some kind of green home improvement. By contrast, just 7% of London households had green improvements planned.

More broadly, the research found that just under half of us (46%) are planning any sort of home improvements this spring. Green improvements came third on the list behind giving the house a lick of paint (70%), and doing some work on the garden (28%).

David Searle, the AA’s director of financial services, commented:

“Whilst many focus on house prices and whether people are moving, the trends for those improving their home are actually more interesting. For every person moving home there are four that are staying put and investing money into the property they have. Further, our data suggests the drivers behind people’s home improvement plans are about realising value over the long term. Making energy efficiency improvements future-proofs a home, cuts domestic bills and it implies that people are serious about taking control of their energy usage.”

“Spring is absolutely the time to make these changes, and the fact so many people are planning all sorts of improvements is a great sign of economic confidence. There are several ways to finance improvement of this sort – whether using savings; a loan or a re-mortgage option.  The AA is on hand to take the financial hassle out of the equation.”

Home improvement plans and how much people are planning to spend

  % planning home improvements Average anticipated spend
Decorating (e.g. painting, wallpapering etc.) 70% £2,841
Garden/patio, balcony improvements 28% £4,354
Green home improvements 18% £7,421
Installing a new bathroom / toilet 17% £6,368
Adding an extension/conservatory 6% £13,518
Converting a garage/loft/home office/bedroom 6% £10,132
Adding or improving a “hobbies room” (e.g. a games room, sewing room etc.) 6% £4,509
Other 12%

Proportion planning green improvements for their homes this Spring, by region

South West 11%
Wales 10%
Scotland 9%
North East 9%
South East 9%
East Midlands 8%
Yorkshire and the Humber 8%
North West 8%
West Midlands 8%
East of England 8%
London 7%

How people are financing their home improvements

Green home improvers National average
Using my savings 49% 51%
Using cash or disposable income 40% 42%
Putting in on my credit card 5% 6%
Taking out a personal loan 5% 3%
Adding it to the mortgage 4% 2%
Putting it on my overdraft 4% 2%
Borrowing money from friends or family 3% 2%
Other 2% 3%
Taking out store credit with retailer 2% 1%
Don’t know 5% 5%
NET borrow 19% 14%