Home improvement figures across the South East increased through 2017 with more than 94,000 planning applications submitted, rising by 3 per cent.
The ‘Home Improvers of Great Britain 2018’ report, compiled by construction industry analysts Barbour ABI shows that for every 100 private homes, the South East had on average 2.9 home improvement applications in 2017, second to just London regionally and above the British average of 2.1.
In this year’s report, South Bucks led all districts across the region with 5.8 applications per 100 private homes (see figure 1.1), keeping its top spot from second placed Sevenoaks despite a fall in the number of planning applications in the borough.
At the bottom of the list of boroughs in the South East for home improvement comes Portsmouth, Southampton and Gosport, which are more urbanised districts with some of the lowest average annual earnings. Here these local authorities received less than one application for home improvement for every 100 private homes, compared with South Bucks which receives almost six.
In terms of the types of home improvement, the South East comes second to London across most types in terms of planning applications proportionate to its number of private homes. It does, however, top the regions for conservatories and outbuildings. It has seen solid growth across most types of home improvement except outbuildings, which have declined nationally. Its strongest showing over the past five years is in rear single-storey extensions, with growth of 26%.
The Office for National Statistics Family Spending survey suggests that households in the South East on average spent above £1,900 a year altering and improving their homes across 2016 and 2017. This totals about £7 billion spent in the region.
Michael Dall, Lead Economist at Barbour ABI said:
“With key factors that promote planning applications for home improvement being earnings, wealth, house prices and rural and semi-rural settings, there can be little surprise that the top ten districts have had a strong showing, not just in the South East but across the national home improvers league. All but Tandridge, at 26th, fall within the 2017 top 25 local authorities for home improvement in Great Britain.”