Do I stay or do I go now?

Nearly one in five homeowners would prefer to extend their existing home, rather than move to a new property

16 April 2014

It’s surprising that nearly one in five UK homeowners (19 per cent) would choose to extend their home rather than move, even if money were no object, according to new research¹ from Nationwide Building Society.

Reasons to Extend

Of those homeowners able to extend their home, more than half (57 per cent) would choose to do so because they like the house (34 per cent) or area they live in (22 per cent). While nearly a quarter (24 per cent) would extend their current property because they feel it’s cheaper than moving house (13 per cent) or they wouldn’t be able to afford to move to a new home (11 per cent).

Types of Home Improvements

Our survey revealed that 16 per cent of UK adult homeowners would most like to build a conservatory, 13 per cent would convert loft space and 12 per cent would build an extension on the ground floor. People were least likely to build a garage (2 per cent), add an extra bathroom (3 per cent), or make an open plan living space (4 per cent).

Interestingly, our research shows a divide between the preferred home improvements and the age of respondents. Homeowners 45 and over (18 per cent) are more likely to build a conservatory than 25 to 44 year olds (11 per cent), who themselves would prefer to convert the loft space (16 per cent), compared to only 11 per cent of over 45s.

Financing Home Improvements

The Nationwide survey also reveals that the majority of homeowners are willing to save before doing work on their home, with over half (55 per cent) stating they would use their savings for home improvements. Interestingly, women (37 per cent) are more likely to take a personal loan, credit card, further advance or remortgage to fund home improvements compared to men (28 per cent), while men (61 per cent) are more likely to use savings than women (50 per cent).

Richard Napier, Nationwide’s director for savings and mortgages, comments: “It’s interesting that even if money were no object, some people would choose to improve their property rather than move home. Our research shows that people are remaining in their property not just because they love the area and home they live in, but because they believe home improvements are a cheaper option than moving house. With 46 per cent planning to do more costly home improvements in the next 12 months, such as a loft conversion, conservatory or extension, it’s encouraging that the majority would use savings rather than credit to fund the work.”

Notes to editors:

¹ All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,128 adults of which 1,357 are homeowners. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th and 19th February 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

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