UK spending on home maintenance at highest since 2008

Household spending on DIY in the UK reached £5.5 billion in 2014, a rise of 10% to reach the highest levels since 2008, new research shows.

Meanwhile, total spending on home maintenance, that is DIY and tradesmen's services, increased by 8% to £6.9 billion in 2014, according to the study from Lloyds Bank.

The £5.5 billion spent on DIY in 2014 was equivalent to around £200 per household. Whilst this was the highest annual total for six years, it was still 19% below the peak of £6.8 billion and 9% lower than a decade ago when it was £6.1 billion.

Spending on tools and equipment for home improvements, ranging from plumbing tools to lawnmowers, increased by 9% from £4 billion in 2013 to £4.4 billion in 2014. Real spending on DIY materials rose by 10% from £1 billion to £1.1 billion.

However, there is little change in spending on tradesmen Expenditure on tradesmen's services, at £1.4 billion, increased very slightly by 1% between 2013 and 2014. This means that for every £1 spent on tradesmen some £3.92 is spent on DIY tools and materials, showing how important DIY is to UK households.

Total spending on home maintenance increased by 8% to £6.9 billion in 2014 from £6.4 billion in 2013. This was the third successive annual increase, taking overall spending on home maintenance to its highest level since 2008 when it was £7.2 billion.

This decline has been entirely due to a fall in expenditure on materials, which declined by 35% over the decade. In contrast, spending on tradesmen’s services rose by 20% whilst spending on tools in 2014 was at the same level as in 2004.

The reports says that the past 10 years have demonstrated how spending on home maintenance has a strong link to the performance of the housing market. Spending reduced by around 36% between the height of the housing market in 2007 when it was £8.3 billion, and the bottom of the market in 2011 when it was £6.1 billion.

Then, as the housing market picked up between 2011 and 2014, spending on DIY increased by 13% again to bring home maintenance spending closer to 2004 levels.

‘The latest figures provide further evidence that people are continuing to increase their spending on DIY and home improvements as the economy and housing market pick up, with DIY spending increasing by 10% in the last year,’ said Andy Hulme, Lloyds Bank mortgages director.

‘This followed a sharp fall in spending between 2007 and 2011, which reflected the worst of the economic and housing downturns during this period,’ he added.