Aviva Research

Estimated 1.5 million homeowners spend over €11 billion on home improvements during the pandemic

Room to Improve: Boom-time looms for painters and decorators as 861,000 homeowners have plans for further upgrades to their homes

Tuesday 20 July 2021, Dublin:  Driven undoubtedly by the extended periods of time that we have all been forced to spend in our homes since the outbreak of the pandemic, recent research carried out by Aviva Insurance Ireland DAC (Aviva), one of Ireland’s leading insurers reveals that 1.5 million homeowners have spent over €11 billion in the last 12 months on home improvements and over 861,000 homeowners have plans to undertake further improvements to their homes.

The survey, commissioned by Aviva and carried out by iReach, looked at the Covid-19 ‘home improvement’ experiences of over 1,200 adults throughout the country. It found that while thousands of Irish homes are now new and improved, thousands more are due to benefit from people’s newfound interest in decorating and renovation, with 1 in 5 respondents saying they have further renovations plans for their homes in the coming year – anywhere from painting, to home offices, to new windows.

The research reveals that to date, 66% of homeowners have embarked on decoration projects, with  almost 5 in 10 (48%) homeowners or their partners having carried out some DIY work themselves , with the remainder employing tradespeople to carry out the jobs in their homes over the last year.  A further 18% of those surveyed said that they had not done any work in their homes to date but have plans to, with only 8% having no plans to undertake any renovation work or re-decoration projects. A further 8% would like to carry out some improvements but don’t have the money.  The majority of those who have undertaken work in their homes have been aged between 35-54 years.

The numbers are significant. If we take the fact that there are over 2.2 million homeowners* in Ireland, and our survey suggests that 66% of them carried out work in 2020/2021, which cost an average of €7,343 per household – that’s 1.5 million homeowners spending over €11 billion in total. The survey findings suggest that 861,000 have plans to undertake further work to their homes, 408,000 of whom have not undertaken any work to date. This should be music to the ears of tradespeople, building suppliers, home furnishing retailers, interior designers etc. – who could all stand to benefit from this “room to improve” boom.

Brian Mahon, Aviva

Highlights from the Aviva survey include;

Who’s been renovating?

  • The homeowners who have spent the most on home improvements are aged between 35-54.
  • Those in Leinster (ex-Dublin) were the forerunners in terms of home improvements with 75% of respondents in this region having done work on their homes during the pandemic.

What prompted people to make changes in their home?

  • The largest number (43%) said it was due to the increased time spent at home which made them more aware of all the jobs that needed to be done – this was more a reason for women (49%) than men (38%)
  • 22% said it was to make better use of space or to create more space – this was a greater prompt for men (27%) than women (17%)
  • 19% said it was more financially feasible this year on the back of money saved over the course of the lockdowns
  • 1 in 10 did this out of sheer boredom while 6% had a home office constructed so they could keep home and work life separate

Of those who haven’t carried out any home improvements:

  • Half said various lockdowns were delaying their plans
  • 1/5 (22%) said they just can’t find the tradespeople
  • The remainder (28%) said they are waiting until they have more time available – 15% more women than men cited this as the reason.

Future home improvement plans:

  • Painting is top dog when it comes to people’s future plans for home improvements – with more than 7 in 10 respondents saying they plan to paint the interior and/or exterior of their home
  • New soft furnishings (27%), new carpets (23%), and new front door (21%) followed by new windows (17%) all made the top six
  • 8% would like to carry out some improvements but don’t have the money
  • More women (45%) than men (30%) want their entire interior of their house painted, while more men want new front doors (24% vs 19%), and new windows (19% vs 16%).  Some 7% of both men and women want a new home office.

Spending on Home improvements:

  • The research findings suggest that 1.5 million homeowners have undertaken some home improvements in the past year, spending a total of €11 billion
  • Overall, we’re not talking huge jobs – the average spend for 7 in 10 (72%) homeowners came in at under €5,000, while almost a quarter spent anywhere between €5k and €20k
  • Just 5% of people spent over €20k but less than €50k, with only 1% spending more than €50k

It looks like this year and next could be a bumper year for those in the home improvement industry, which is to be welcomed because many of these workers have been hit hard by the rolling lockdowns that we have experienced since March last year. We would urge homeowners to do their due diligence before employing professionals to undertake work in their home and to ensure that they only engage the services of reputable, experienced, and insured individuals. Referrals are often a good way of selecting a trusted contractor.

Brian Mahon, Aviva

The research was carried out by iReach Insights Limited and was part of a nationwide study conducted as part of the iReach Consumer Decisions Omnibus Survey with 1,200 respondents, 777 of whom were homeowners.  The fieldwork was undertaken at the end of April 2021.

* https://www.statista.com/statistics/543383/house-owners-among-population-ireland/

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Aviva Group Services Ireland Limited, a private company limited by shares. Registered in Ireland No.322579. Registered Office One Park Place, Hatch Street, Dublin 2.