HVP Magazine – Demand for home improvements down due to cost of living crisis, report finds



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New research from Rated People has revealed the construction industry is heading for a ‘home improvement squeeze’ in 2023, as tradespeople continue to battle with rising costs and lower homeowner demand.

Following the ‘home improvement boom’ where record numbers of homeowners improved their homes over the past few years – just 35% of homeowners are now definitely planning home improvements this year, which is a sizeable drop from 52% in 2022.

The findings come from this year’s edition of the Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report which analyzed 1.1 million home improvement jobs posted through the Rated People platform by UK homeowners to uncover the impact of the cost of living crisis on tradespeople and homeowners.

The price of materials and operational costs have increased substantially over the past two years, and the vast majority of tradespeople have needed to pass these costs on to homeowners to stay in business.

In 2022, 94% of UK tradespeople experienced increasing costs, and this year, 92% of tradespeople say their costs are increasing further.

This has made home improvements less affordable for homeowners who are already struggling with the wider pressures of the cost of living crisis. This year alone, 86% of tradespeople are reported to be raising their prices for homeowners, and on average tradespeople are increasing their prices by 17%.

As a result, almost three in four (71%) tradespeople expect to have work drop out this year and 77% think homeowner demand will reduce.

Gardeners and landscape gardeners are the trade that’s preparing for the biggest reduction in demand, with a full 100% saying they expect to have work dropped out. Nine in 10 (88%) bathroom fitters expect they’ll have less work this year and 78% of handypeople think their pipeline will shrink.

Top 12 trades that expect to have work drop out in 2023 because of rising prices

  • Gardeners/ landscape gardeners 100%
  • Bathroom fittings 88%
  • Handypeople 78%
  • Builders 77%
  • Gas/heating engineers 77%
  • Carpenters/joiners 75%
  • Tilers 75%
  • Plasterers/renderers 71%
  • Painters and decorators 69%
  • Electricians 62%
  • Roofers 57%
  • Plumbers 54%

Adrienne Minster, CEO of Rated People, said: “The big home improvement boom of recent years was incredible for tradespeople. But now, with fewer homeowners able to have work done, 2023 is set to be a more challenging landscape for them to navigate.

“We’re committed to helping skilled tradespeople across the UK to weather the storm and find the work that’s available in their areas – as well as future-proofing their businesses – as homeowners rein in spending.”