Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Lockdown triggers 'Generation Renovation', with two fifths of homeowners looking to upgrade their homes

Published: 5 May 2021 - Neil Mead

The pandemic has made many homeowners reconsider their living environment as they’ve been told to stay at home for the best part of a year. It’s clear that renovations are high on the priority list as two fifths (41%) of homeowners have plans to renovate or extend their homes, according to new research from Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB) - potentially the start of a new "Generation Renovation".

Of those who said they have plans to change their home set up, a quarter (25%) said they would renovate, one in 10 (9%) said they would extend, and 6% said they would both extend and renovate. 

Spending so much time at home due to the pandemic has forced many people to change their lifestyles and think about what they want most from their homes as they’ve had to contend with home schooling, working from home, and parents having their adult children move back home.  In fact, 24% of homeowners said that Covid-19 directly changed their plans for their home.

When asked for what reasons they’d consider extending their home, 33% said to create a nicer living environment.  29% said to expand on existing living spaces, such as a kitchen or living room. 24% said to create an entirely new room, such as a home office or gym.

Reasons homeowners have considered extending their home:



Create a nicer living environment for myself and family

33 %

Expand on existing space i.e. a bigger kitchen

29 %

Add value to my home in the long-term

28 %

Create an entirely new room, such as a home office or gym

24 %

Renovate my garage

23 %

Add an extra bathroom, bedroom or other existing room

20 %

Add value to my home so I can sell it quickly

18 %

Build an outbuilding for a home office or gym

16 %

Data from Resi, the online residential architect, found that in in the second half of 2020 - when it became clear restrictions were not easing - there was an increase of 22% in the number of garage conversions, as homeowners look to adapt the existing space they have rather than move elsewhere. This is further supported by the fact the number of customers looking to refurbish rather than extend jumped from 7% to almost 18% in that same time period.

For those looking to understand how to fund a home improvement, Mortgage Advice Bureau has created an online tool which provides users with the construction project cost vs. the value specific home extensions and renovations can add to the overall property price. The calculator then works out how individuals can finance their home improvements through remortgaging, where homeowners release equity built up in their property to raise additional funds for the project. The survey found that a quarter (26%) of homeowners have remortgaged their home previously to carry out renovations or extensions.

Brian Murphy, Head of Lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “Brits have spent an extraordinary amount of time in their homes this year and the ‘stay at home’ lifestyle has made homeowners really think about what they want from their properties.  Smaller projects, like redecorating or upholstering furniture to make a space feel cosier, can often be covered by savings, but bigger jobs, like redesigning a kitchen, extending to create another room, or even adding an out-building can be far costlier.  Remortgaging is one way homeowners can finance their plans without paying over the odds for a separate loan.  It’s important though that owners get professional estimates for their renovation projects, and also understand how much they can borrow on top of their existing mortgage. This can all be done by speaking to a qualified mortgage adviser, to make sure they can afford their ultimate property makeover.”

Some homeowners are not only thinking about their current living environment, but also looking longer term.  28% said they have considered extending their home to add value to their property in the long-term and 18% said they’d add value to sell their homes quickly.

For those whose priority it is to increase their property price, Susan Gregory, Divisional Sales Director for Purple Bricks, explains: “Without a doubt, kitchens are the hub of the home.  Refurbishing and extending kitchens to be a lifestyle area that also gives homeowners the space to socialise, entertain, and relax adds significant value to a home, and Mortgage Advice Bureau’s findings echoes this. Having a kitchen which opens out onto outside space is also a big tick for buyers, and outside space itself also has its own premium. If you have any outside space at all, no matter how small, spend some time and a little money presenting it to potential buyers as an additional and welcoming space. This will not only add value but also saleability.”


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