Upgrading existing homes becoming more and more popular

Upgrading existing homes becoming more and more popular

Is upgrading the new moving up?

It may well be going on figures released by one of the country’s leading banks this week.

The shortage of supply of properties and the scramble for homes, particularly in our major towns and cities, has been well documented by now.

That has meant that those people who would traditionally be looking to move up the ladder are reluctantly sticking with what they’ve got.

While in certain cases, it is impossible to expand an existing property such as in an apartment block, for many there is a chance to rework a home to suit your current needs.

It appears that is what many people are doing based on figures from Bank of Ireland released earlier this week.

The bank reported that the number of home improvement loans it had issued had soared by 38% in the first quarter of 2017, with applicants applying for an average loan of €12,000 over five years.

Other lenders and credit unions have also been quite prominent in their advertising of offering loans for home upgrades with shows such as RTÉ’s Room to Improve noted as an influencer.

“The popularity of TV programmes like RTÉ’s Room to Improve encourages homeowners to invest in their homes and put time and money into sprucing up the property. With summer approaching, we expect DIY enthusiasts to ramp up their renovation and home-improvement plans,” said Christine Hamill, head of retail loans with Bank of Ireland.

Another key incentive is the home renovation scheme operated by Revenue, which allows homeowners and landlords to claim back VAT expended on their renovation projects up to a value of €30,000. It means that homeowners can cut their tax bill by up to €4,050 in the two years following the work.

According to Bank of Ireland, it’s typically not recent first-time buyers applying for the loans. Seventy-seven per cent of all applicants are aged 35 or over, and more than a third are over 45. More than one in four (27 per cent) applicants were looking to borrow €10,000-€20,000, while a similar proportion (25 per cent) requested amounts greater than €20,000.

Homeowners are continuing the trend of making their homes larger: 12 per cent completing extensions in their homes. Kitchen and bathroom refurbishment and internal carpentry jobs accounted for 14 per cent of projects. Painting and decorating remain popular projects this year, generating 10 per cent of online inquiries, while landscaping accounted for 3 per cent, down on last year.

The new figures should act as no surprise given that a recent report from Savills found that property downsizing has declined sharply due to adult children staying longer in the family home. It reported downsizing has declined from 13.4% in 2014 to 5.3% in 2016 with many parents reworking their home to include up to three generations. Recent census figures found that one quarter of married couples in the Republic are now living with adult children aged 20 and over.

What are your thoughts on the matter.

  • Have you upgraded or considered upgrading your home?
  • Is doing up what you already have a better solution than moving at present?
  • Is multiple generations in the one household set to become a more common trend?

Have your say below…

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