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South East ‘DIY Capital’ but East Midlands catching up

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The South East is the UK’s DIY capital: households in the region borrow more for home improvements than anywhere else.

New figures from Shawbrook Bank Personal Loans division show more than a sixth (17%) of lending for home improvements went to borrowers in the South East in the three months to March.

However, the East Midlands have seen the greatest rise in home improvements over 2018, with the share of Shawbrook’s total lending for home improvement loans reaching 12% in the first quarter of 2019. It may be a coincidence, but the East Midlands has also seen the largest increase in house prices – 4.4% – of any English region over the past 12 months.

In contrast, house prices in the South East recorded an increase of just 0.1% during this period.

Homeowners are also borrowing more, with the average size of a home improvement loan up by 16% year on year. Shawbrook believes home improvements may be getting more expensive. Since the value of sterling has dropped, the cost of imported goods and raw materials has risen.

The bank believes that there is still value to be made from well-planned renovations and Paul Went, managing director, consumer at Shawbrook Bank, suggests the following tips:

1. Set yourself a clear budget and think carefully about all the costs involved.
2. Explore different financings options to decide which is best for you, it could be savings, a second charge mortgage/secured home improvement loan, an unsecured home improvement loan or by remortgaging
3. If borrowing money, shop around to find the best rates and keep abreast of how potential changes to interest rates may affect your costs in the long-term
4. Seek a professional valuation to help understand what the potential return on investment might be from the renovations you have planned
5. Remember to keep your insurer informed of any home improvements or renovations to ensure that your current policy covers any changes in the value of your property

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