Homes bloom as Britons plan to spend £79 billion on DIY over the next year

Spring months most popular to do handy work

01 April 2014

Nearly half of Britons (47 per cent) plan to do DIY projects over the next 12 months and spend an average of £3,342 doing so, according to new research from Nationwide Building Society¹. This means around £79 billion² will be spent on improving homes over the coming year.

DIY activities

Nationwide’s research indicates that there is a wide variety of activities on the DIY ‘to do’ list over the coming months:

  • Around two thirds (65 per cent) are planning to paint, wallpaper or plaster
  • One third (33 per cent) will look to improve their garden (e.g. landscaping, laying a new lawn, adding fencing or decking)
  • Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) will lay carpet or laminate/vinyl/wooden flooring
  • 18 per cent will update or completely renew their bathroom
  • 16 per cent will update or completely renew their kitchen
  • 16 per cent will invest in self-assembly furniture

While more than one in five (22 per cent) of people plan to spend between £301 and £1,000 on DIY, around one in ten (nine per cent) will actually spend more than £5,000 over the next year.

Gender and age divide

When it comes to controlling the budget, our research indicates a gender divide with women planning to spend around £100 more over the course of the year than men, spending an average of £3,392 compared to the average expenditure for men of £3,285.

The older you get, the more you are likely to spend doing up the home or garden. While people up to the age of 54 are likely to spend an average of £2,755 on improving their home, this expenditure rises significantly to £4,045 for those aged 55 and over.

Annual hotspots for DIY

According to the Nationwide survey, the Spring months are the most popular time to undertake some DIY with nearly three in five (59 per cent) admitting they will improve their home during March, April or May. Nearly a third (30 per cent) indicated they would spend some time doing DIY during April, which coincides with this year’s Easter period. Spring time is a particularly popular DIY time for the 25s and over (60 per cent plan to do DIY during March, April or May).

DIY finances

Our survey also reveals an encouraging trend of “save first, do later” with a majority of Britons willing to save up before undertaking DIY rather than quickly turning to credit. More than three in five UK adults will fund their projects using their savings (61 per cent), while 42 per cent plan to use their wages. Less than one in ten (six per cent) will use a credit card or a personal loan.

While nearly three in five (59 per cent) adults up to the age of 44 are likely to fund the DIY out of their salary income, this drops to just around a third (32 per cent) for people 45 and older. That age group prefers to dip into their savings – nearly three quarters (71 per cent) will use this method to fund these activities.

The younger age groups are most likely to turn to credit with one in ten 35-44s planning to use a credit card to fund their DIY activity. While seven per cent of 18-24s will use a credit card, worryingly, four per cent will turn to a payday loan.

Richard Napier, Nationwide’s director for savings and mortgages, comments:
“Spring, and particularly the Easter period, has traditionally been a favourite time for DIYing, and this year is no different with nearly two thirds of us planning to break out the paint brush and filler.

“The amount we’ve estimated that will be spent over the next 12 months shows that there is a nationwide appetite to invest in their homes even at a low level. What’s more, with nearly two thirds using their savings to fund these activities, it is encouraging to see that people won’t break the bank to do so. This apparent ‘save first, do later’ approach is something that should be applied to most things in life, and DIY activity is no exception.”

Notes to editors:

¹ All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,128 adults, of which 987 plan to carry out DIY improvements in the next 12 months. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th - 19th February 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

² Source: ONS
UK population 18 and over: 50,180,700
47 per cent will do DIY: 23,584,929
Average spend: £3,342
Total spend on DIY: £3,342 * 23,584,929 = £78.8 billion

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