Six in ten homeowners are planning to carry out home improvements totalling £50.89bn over the next six months. That’s some big numbers and clearly demonstrates the hunger Brits have for improving our homes. The numbers are even bigger for younger people and first-time buyers, 81% of those that have lived in their home for a year or less have carried out home improvements in the last year. 
However, with this comes an ever more transactional way of looking at our homes as people are increasingly weighing up the relative rise in value that their improvements can add. Rather than DIY, we are ‘renovating’, instead of decorating we are ‘refreshing’, and before you know it, a house becomes a ‘property’, not a home.
You don’t have to look far to find evidence of this with a plethora of online tools and books available to help you calculate the potential financial gain home improvements can provide. While its obviously important to watch out for negative equity, there is no doubt that developing homes can be extremely rewarding and lucrative (a home renovation done well can increase a property’s value by as much as 30%). This outlook can all feel a bit functional. Whatever happened to just improving your home because it makes you feel good?
To quote a classic 90’s L’Oreal ad ‘here comes the science bit!’ The Ikea Effect is a behavioural science concept which states that we place more value on something that we create ourselves vs. something created for us – hence the reference to IKEA – a flatpack table is more valuable when compared to a pre-made table. Simply put, improving our home means we attach more emotional value to it – from painting a room, or buying new furniture or getting a new shower, each addition has in effect been created by us, making our homes more valuable emotionally (not just financially). Even when there’s a lot to do, people still feel huge affection to their homes because they contributed to making it what it is.
For younger audiences, the memory of their Baby Boomer parents making a huge profit on their houses is still fresh, which in turn drives their desire to make a fortune of their own. However, property prices, stamp duty costs, the slowing market and concerns around interest rates rising, (not to mention the potential impact of Brexit) are all making this much more difficult. Added to this, an independent piece of research we conducted here at McCANN found that 57% of Brits say ‘my home is my sanctuary because the world feels like a scarier place’, a statistic that increases as people get younger.
Now throw into the mix the fact that over half of under 35s say it’s difficult to know what is needed to complete a home improvement project and that they are embarrassed to ask for advice…Suddenly, it feels like there is a powerful opportunity to empower younger people to improve their sanctuary, not because it will make money but because it’ll make them feel great!
If you fancy having a chat about helping people turn their homes into castles, whether it’s for profit or not, then get in touch.
Contact the McCann Bristol Planning team: tom.morgan@McCann.com
 The Express - Mapped: Home improvements rise as homeowners avoid selling (2018)
 Mintel – DIY Retail Category Report (2018)
 Propertypriceadvice (2018)
 The Truth About Britain – McCANN Truth Central independent research (2018)