The Home Improvement Boom | Rated People

For insights on the biggest trends in renovation and home improvement, take a look at the Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report 2022

Demand is up by an impressive 50% in just two years

Since the start of the pandemic, our desire for home improvement has accelerated at an incredible pace and it’s easy to understand why. The last two years have fundamentally changed the way we use our living space, and we’ve used skilled tradespeople across the country to modify our homes for new ways of living.

In 2021, half (49%) of UK residents made improvements to their homes and demand for tradespeople increased by 32%. When compared to the start of the pandemic in 2020, demand for home improvement has gone up by a massive 50%. 

But Covid and Brexit have also presented a lot of challenges, like material supply issues, production cost increases and workforce shortages, and these have impacted both homeowners and tradespeople across the country. It hasn’t always been easy to complete home improvement work but homeowners and tradespeople have persevered!

Almost nine in 10 tradespeople (89%) say their costs increased in 2021, 84% experienced materials supply issues and just under half (44%) had workforce shortages. 

So how has this all affected the bottom line? How much will prices go up for renovations and home improvements this year, and which types of projects are set to increase in price the most?

Old attic converted into a light spacious living room

The rising cost of renovations

89% of tradespeople say their costs (for things like materials and their workforce) increased in 2021, and in 2022, 91% of tradespeople expect their costs will go up further. So, it’s not surprising that this year, a large proportion say they will need to pass those increasing costs on to consumers in order to stay profitable – 82% of tradespeople are anticipating they’ll need to put their prices up this year.

Last year, this meant prices for home improvement work increased by 15% on average for homeowners. Nearly four in five tradespeople (78%) put their prices up by 20% or less, and only 3% pushed their prices up by 50% or more.

So what’s in store for this year? Well – the price of some renovation projects could increase by 40%…

Labour and materials for a bathroom renovation are expected to cost around £5,726 on average in 2022, which is 22% higher than 2021, and a huge 40% more than in 2020. The price of both loft conversions and kitchen renovations are set to increase by 25% compared to 2020, and an extension will be 23% more expensive than just two years ago.

Average cost in 2020 Average cost in 2021 Expected averaged cost in 2022 Price increase from 2021 to 2022 Price increase from 2020 to 2022
Bathroom renovation (not including suite/ tiles etc) £4,078 £4,698 £5,726 22% 40%
Loft conversion £27,835 £31.06 £34,899 12% 25%
Kitchen renovation (not including kitchen/ worktop/ tiles/ appliances etc) £5,813 £6,625 £7,256 10% 25%
Extension £30,930 £34,851 £37,893 9% 23%
Simple bathroom with black shower, round mirror and classic white tiles

The top trades that are putting their prices up in 2022

Renovation and home improvement jobs that need builders, heating engineers, plasterers and carpenters are the most likely to increase in price this year – 97% of builders, 91% of heating engineers, 89% of plasterers and 89% of carpenters will be upping their prices.

The top 10 trades increasing their prices in 2022

1. Builders 97% (are upping their prices this year)
2. Gas/ heating engineers 91%
3. Plasterers/ renderers 89%
4. Carpenters/ joiners 89%
5. Handypeople 88%
6. Plumbers 84%
7. Roofers 82%
8. Gardeners 81%
9. Painters/ decorators 79%
10. Electricians 77%
Modern dark grey  kitchen with island

Struggling to keep up with demand

In addition to increasing prices, homeowners also found it hard to get hold of tradespeople that were available to do the work in 2021. Almost two thirds (62%) of tradespeople said 2021 was ‘the busiest year they’ve ever had’, so it’s not surprising that 45% of homeowners struggled to find an available tradesperson last year. 

London was the worst affected, with 54% of homeowners encountering availability challenges. And Liverpool (53%), Edinburgh (49%) and Belfast (48%) weren’t far behind.

Map of UK showing the places where homeowners struggled the most to find tradespeople

More than one in three tradespeople (43%) also said they felt an increased level of stress in 2021 because of the industry challenges and exploding demand, and one in four (25%) said they felt exhausted.

But, one in three (34%) did say that the opportunities meant they felt an increased sense of motivation and one in four (27%) said they had increased job satisfaction and an increased sense of achievement last year.

Young black woman plumber sitting on the floor fixing a bathroom sink, seen from doorway

Material and workforce shortages

Across the UK, 45% of homeowners experienced delays with work they were having done and 43% had to change their original plans because materials or design elements were sold out.

Almost two thirds (62%) of tradespeople told us they were forced to delay or cancel jobs in 2021, and this year, tradespeople are still expecting to be hit with challenges, but a smaller amount expect this will cause delays and disruption – just 44% expect they’ll have to cancel or delay jobs this year.

Unsurprisingly, Covid was a major cause of disruption in 2021, but the main reason for cancellations and delays was actually materials shortages, with 44% of tradespeople saying they had to delay or cancel work because of supply issues.

Plasterers/ renderers were the most affected by supply issues, but nearly all trades experienced shortages. Between 75% and 96% of the top 10 most affected trades found it difficult to get the materials they needed.

The top 10 trades that were most affected by materials shortages in 2021

1. Plasterer / Renderer 96% ( experienced materials shortages)
2. Builder 95%
3. Gardener / Landscape gardener 87%
4. Carpenter / Joiner 87%
5. Painter and decorator 85%
6. Bathroom fitter 85%
7. Handyperson 81%
8. Electrician 77%
9. Plumber 77%
10. Roofer 75%

Workforce and contractor shortages were also experienced by many trade businesses in 2021, with the main causes being Covid isolation and a lack of skilled workers.

The top reasons why UK trades suffered workforce shortages in 2021

1. Needing to isolate because of Covid 29%
2. Lack of skilled/experienced workers 22%
3. Staff/subcontractors not wanting to work because of Covid risks 15%
4. Loss of staff members due to Brexit – relocating out of UK 15%
5. Fewer people getting into the trades industry 14%
Glass elegant chandelier in creative conservatory or sunroom

How we’re improving our homes in 2022

Despite the challenges, demand for home improvement and renovations is staying strong this year, with 86% of tradespeople expecting to be ‘very busy’ in 2022. So, when it comes to the ways we’ll be adapting our homes, homeowners are investing most of their budget on maximising space and enhancing functionality.

Extensions, annexes, new conservatories and building walls to create separate rooms are among the top five improvements that homeowners want to spend the most money on in 2022.

Creating a home bar is sixth in the priority list when it comes to the amount of budget they’re setting aside – ahead of home gyms in seventh place. Other ‘pandemic-inspired’ home improvements like adapting a room to make it multifunctional, and adding an outdoor entertaining area also make the priority list.

Home bar counter with wine bottles.

The top 15 home improvements that homeowners want to spend the most money on in 2022

1. Building an extension £18,580 (average homeowner budget for work)
2. Building an annex £16,731
3. Adding an en-suite bathroom £15,885
4. New conservatory/orangery £15,564
5. Building wall to create separate rooms £13,977
6. Creating a home bar £13,939
7. Creating a home gym £12,057
8. New kitchen £12,057
9. New porch £11,252
10. Making a room multifunctional £10,772
11. Creating outdoor entertaining area £10,483
12. New windows throughout £9,547
13. Tiling £7,728
14. Garden landscaping £6,622
15. Painting £4,743

Adrienne Minster, CEO of Rated People: 

“So many aspects of our lives are now affected by rising prices, so if you’re doing work to your home this year – to ensure you get the best value, it’s now more important than ever to start planning and budgeting as early as possible so you can negotiate a good price and avoid tradespeople being booked up for months in advance.

At Rated People, we make it easy for homeowners to find quality, local tradespeople, so however you’d like to improve your home this year, we’re a great place to start your search for a trusted tradesperson.” 

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