Victoria Brocklesby, COO at Origin, discusses the current challenges presented by the housing market and the impact this is having on home improvement projects.
The housing market is in a state of flux. Recently, it was reported that the annual house price growth had fallen to its weakest level since 2012.
This is a stark contrast to the trend we saw throughout 2020 and 2021 when there was seemingly no ceiling for house prices to hit.
Now the economy is in a much different position. With the cost of living climbing, the dream of moving house is out of reach for many as fixed-rate mortgage rates have almost tripled in two years. This is having two knock-on effects.
First, people are choosing to improve rather than move. Second, homeowners are making select upgrades to their homes to add value and improve saleability.
Improve, don’t move
Increased mortgage rates mean that moving house is currently out of reach for many, especially if their current mortgage is at a low fixed rate and will continue to be for another two to three years.
As a result, and with the pandemic highlighting the importance of our living environment on our physical and mental well-being, many of those who cannot afford to move are turning their attention to improving their property instead.
Creating functional spaces
One way homeowners are looking to improve their living environment is by creating functional spaces for the whole family.
With increased working-from-home opportunities and people staying in more, our homes need to accommodate work, life, and play. For decades, large open-plan spaces have been popular, but this is no longer practical. Not only does it make compartmentalising life more difficult, but it also costs more to heat large rooms – another key concern for homeowners.
We are seeing more enquiries from people looking to create a ‘broken plan’ footprint for their homes using internal glazing. Using an internally glazed wall and door system like Origin’s OI-30 allows homeowners to create separate spaces without hampering the amount of natural light flowing through the property. This means they can separate work, life, and play, without having to settle for lots of small, dark rooms.
Connecting to the outside
Another area homeowners are continually looking to improve is the ability to connect the inside with their outside space.
Many are replacing old PVC-U French door sets with new aluminium bi-folding or sliding doors. The lifestyle and minimal transition offered by bi-folding and sliding doors creates a seamless connection between the inside and out.
Improving kerb appeal
An additional trend we are seeing is homeowners making small, but impactful improvements to their homes to increase kerb appeal and add value.
This includes upgrading their front door. Not only does this improve the thermal efficiency of the home, but it can also mean potential house buyers are willing to pay more for a property.
The research by Dulux Weathershield also found potential house buyers are 93% more likely to view a property if it has a well-maintained exterior. This means investing, even minimally, in a property’s exterior can have a huge impact on its saleability.
For as long as the housing market remains in a state of flux, homeowners will continue to be cautious. However, demand for home improvement will remain in some form whether it’s to add value or in lieu of moving house. The key is to be prepared so you can offer the best advice to homeowners and tailor it specifically to their circumstances.