UK homeowners stay put for nearly two decades, choosing to improve not move, reveals Barclays Mortgages

31 October 2018
  • The 2018 Barclays Home Improvement Report has found that the average Brit now stays in their property for 19 years before moving, and regularly updates their home in this time

  • Over half (54 per cent) of UK homeowners choose to make improvements to their current homes rather than move to a new property

  • Woodchip wallpaper, mirrored ceilings and carpeted bathrooms are considered the biggest décor faux pas, while bi-fold external doors are highly desired

  • Property expert, Phil Spencer has teamed up with Barclays Mortgages to highlight the current trends in home improvements and how the majority of homeowners prefer to home-improve rather than move in 2018


Barclays Mortgages has today released its 2018 Home Improvement Report. Looking at the Nation’s attitudes towards renovations, the report has revealed that Brits are now staying in their property for nearly two decades, with the majority of homeowners (54 per cent) saying they would rather improve their current home than move to a new one.


Improvement trends:

The most popular improvements to make are fitting new carpets (35 per cent), installing a new kitchen (31 per cent) and landscaping the garden (29 per cent). The most desired home improvements are bi-fold doors into the garden (30 per cent), smart home tech (26 per cent) and a spa bathroom (20 per cent).


The report also revealed the biggest home improvement faux pas, with woodchip wallpaper (60 per cent) considered the biggest property turn off.


Table 1: UK’s top 10 list of worst DIY home improvements:

DIY Improvements

Percentage (%) of respondents citing these improvements as a faux pas

Woodchip wallpaper


Mirrored ceilings


Carpeted bathrooms


Ugly blinds


Fake beams


Outdoor toilets


Artex ceilings


Stone cladding inside the home


Beaded door curtains


Stone cladding on the outside of the property




Property churn rate:

In fact, data produced for the report in conjunction with property analytics business Hometrack found that the average person in the UK stays put for 19 years1. The figures show that those in Wales are the least likely to move property regularly, with the average homeowner staying put for nearly 23 years. However, those in Scotland are the quickest movers, upping sticks after an average of almost 15 years.


Reasons to improve:

The new research found that the main reason for people choosing to improve their home is to make their property reflect their personal taste (48 per cent), but one in four (25 per cent) stated that their main motivation was to increase the value of their property.


With a continually challenging property market, it is perhaps not surprising that money is a key driver for homeowners. In fact, over a quarter (28 per cent) of those surveyed by Barclays Mortgages said that whilst they did want to move, they have had to improve their current home because they cannot afford to do so.


The report also found that social media is having an increasingly large impact on people’s approach to updating their property – particularly in the younger age groups. For example, four in ten (43 per cent) 23 - 34-year olds surveyed stated that they had been inspired to improve their home from what they have seen on social media. While 15 per cent admitted to improving a room specifically to post on their social channels. 


No matter what the motivation, the new report highlights how committed homeowners are doing up their homes. In fact, a huge 79 per cent of homeowners have made home improvements in the past two years, and 73 per cent want to make improvements in the next 12 months.


TV property expert Phil Spencer, official spokesperson of the Barclays Mortgages Home Improvement Report, comments: “There has long been an appetite for home improvements in the UK, and with so many of us now staying in our properties for such a long time, it is clear that our homes are so much more than just bricks and mortar – they are a space for us to relax and enjoy times with our loved ones, so it is important to make them fit for purpose.


“It is also really interesting to see how social media is impacting on our attitude to home improvements. It’s clear that the likes of Instagram and Pinterest are really inspiring particularly the younger generation and I’m sure this is partly contributing to the changing interior tastes. I would encourage anyone looking to update their home to take inspiration where they can, but always think about the long-term – ask yourself how something will look in 3, 5, 10 years before committing your time and money.”


Hannah Bernard, Head of Mortgages at Barclays said: “The Barclays Mortgages Home Improvement Report highlights a strong appetite among homeowners to make improvements. We understand that there are many motivations for updating your home, from simply wanting to make your home better reflect your own tastes to adding more space for a growing family.”


For further information, visit: https://www.barclays.co.uk/moments/improving-your-home/

Consumer research was conducted on behalf of Barclays Mortgages by One Poll in August 2018 with a sample size of 2,000 respondents.


1Table 2: Average ownership time of a property across the UK


Average number of years spent in property


22.6 years

North East

21.3 years

Yorkshire and The Humber

20.0 years

West Midlands

20.2 years

North West

20.0 years


19.4 years

South East

18.4 years

East Midlands

18.3 years


18.3 years

South West

17.4 years


14.5 years

UK Average

18.7 years

Source: Hometrack calculations using Land Registry and Registers of Scotland