Clutch of South East boroughs witness a boom in home improvement activity

The latest Barbour ABI analysis of home improvements in Britain reports that Chichester, East Hampshire, Horsham, Winchester and Guildford have witnessed a boom in activity.

Top of the pile in the South East region is Chichester, where more than six homeowners in a hundred submitted planning permission to improve their homes in 2014. This was more than a 60% rise on the average rate over the previous two years. East Hampshire district saw a near 90% rise, thrusting it into second place in the regional rankings and seventh in Britain.

The reasons behind each household decision to undertake improvements will vary considerably, but one major factor in the South East is higher than average earnings. There is a very strong relationship between where plans are submitted for home improvements and the average earnings for the district. So it’s no surprise that the affluent boroughs of South Bucks, Sevenoaks and Elmbridge remain high in the regional list.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of the list of boroughs in the South East for home improvement are Portsmouth, Southampton and Gosport, districts with some of the lowest average annual earnings in the region. Here these local authorities, along with Thanet, received less than one application for home improvement for every 100 private homes.

Michael Dall, Lead Economist at Barbour ABI, stated:

‘The Office for National Statistics Family Spending survey suggests that households across the region spent about £3.9 billion on home improvements  annually across 2012 and 2013. The average household, including renters, spends about £1,100 a year per household on altering and improving their homes in the South East.’