How The Rising Cost Of Living Is Affecting Home Improvements in 2023 – Rated People Blog

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For insights on the biggest trends in renovation and home improvement, take a look at the Rated People Home Improvement Trends Report 2023

Following the home improvement boom of 2020-2022 where record numbers of homeowners improved their homes, the 2023 edition of our Home Improvement Trends Report shows increasing costs are forcing many homeowners to rein in budgets and plans for this year.   

Only 35% of UK homeowners say they will definitely be carrying out home improvement work to their homes in 2023 (down from 52% in 2022) and 71% of tradespeople think work will drop out this year because of the rising cost of living.  

Higher costs are having a huge impact on both homeowners and tradespeople and here we unpack what the effects of that could be – from the home improvement projects and essential home maintenance jobs that many people are having to put on hold to the ways tradespeople are attracting more business this year.  

Picture of a tradesperson carpenter working with a ruler and wood

You can skip ahead to different home improvement stats and insights here: 

The Rising Cost Of Home Improvements 

The Effect Of Rising Prices On Homeowners 

How The Cost-Of-Living Crisis Is Impacting Tradespeople 

If you’re a homeowner and you’re keen to find more cost-effective ways to still improve your home this year, there are over 50,000 expert local tradespeople here on Rated People who can help – from builders and plumbers to kitchen specialists and handypeople.  

Picture of a modern kitchen with marble countertop

How Much Prices For Home Improvements Will Increase This Year 

Increasing operational costs and the rising cost of materials have increased substantially over the past two years, and this has meant tradespeople have needed to pass these costs on to keep up with inflation and stay in business. 

We spoke to hundreds of tradespeople across the UK to find out how much prices for home improvements and renovations are likely to rise. If you’re looking to have work done to your home this year, it’ll cost 17% more on average than in 2022.  

To help you understand which jobs have seen the biggest price rises, we worked with Price Builder to dive into how much prices for some of the most common home improvement jobs have risen. Loft conversions have seen the biggest increase – going up by 20% last year. Garden rooms saw an 11% hike in prices as did single storey extensions and slate and tiled roofing.  

Top 10 home improvements that have seen the biggest price rises over the past year

Position  Home improvement   Average price in 2021  Average price in 2022  Price increase 
1.  Dormer loft conversion  £49,695  £59,695  +20% 
2.  Garden room  £10,423  £11,582  +11% 
3.  Single storey extension  £47,942  £53,270  +11% 
4.  Slate and tiled roof  £12,673  £14,081  +11% 
5.  Building a partition wall to create two separate spaces  £780  £847  +9% 
6.  Installing new flooring  £585  £617  +5% 
7.  Installing a new fitted kitchen  £5,043  £5,308  +5% 
8.  Removing a wall between two rooms to create an open plan space  £2,033  £2,140  +5% 
9.  Plastering a room  £720  £757  +5% 
10.  Kitchen wall tiling  £440  £450  +2% 
Picture of a tradesperson working on an house with a drill

Which Trades Will Increase Prices The Most 

On average, 86% of all UK tradespeople are increasing their prices this year so it’s a good idea to get in there as early as possible with tradespeople to secure the best price. If you’re looking to hire a bathroom fitter, electrician, plumber, roofer or carpenter, it’ll be even more important as they’re the top five trades where price rises will be seen the most.  

More than 90% of UK bathroom fitters, electricians, plumbers and roofers will be hiking prices this year. The good news is that if you’re looking for a plasterer and renderer, they’re the trade where price rises won’t be seen quite as much, with only 79% looking to put up their prices. 

Top 12 Trades That Will Be Increasing Prices in 2023 (Ranked by % of each trade that said they would be increasing their prices in 2023)

1. Bathroom fitters 94%
2. Electricians 92%
3. Plumbers 92%
4. Roofers 90%
5. Carpenters/joiners 88%
6. Tilers 88%
7. Gardeners 86%
8. Gas/heating engineers 85%
9. Handypeople 83%
10. Painter/decorators 82%
11. Builders 82%
12. Plasterers/renderers 79%
Picture of a modern bathroom with grey and white tiles

How Homeowners Are Scaling Back Home Improvement Plans This Year 

For homeowners wanting to complete work on their homes in 2023, the rising cost of renovations is unsurprisingly having a negative impact on projects. Almost half (47%) say they’re worried they now won’t have enough money to complete the types of projects they want to do this year, and more than half (51%) will be scaling back plans and doing less home improvement work in 2023 because the cost of work has increased.  

So which projects are being put on hold this year? The main one is getting a new carpet, with one in five (19%) people who said they would be delaying work this year saying that’s the job they’re choosing not to do.  

16% are shelving painting and decorating plans and 14% say their new bathroom will have to wait. 

Top 10 home improvements that homeowners are putting off in 2023 because costs have increased

1. New carpet 19%
2. Painting and decorating 16%
3. New bathroom 14%
4. Garden landscaping 13%
5. New kitchen 12%
6. New windows 12%
7. New storage 9%
8. New driveway 8%
9. New front door 8%
10. New wooden flooring 8%

The Essential Maintenance Jobs Homeowners Can’t Afford To Do This Year 

Unfortunately, homeowners are also having to scale back budgets for essential home maintenance jobs like gas safety checks, electrical repairs and fixing mould and damp. In fact, 6 in 10 homeowners in the UK say they won’t be able to afford some home maintenance this year.  

Of the 36% of those who identified at least one essential home maintenance job that they won’t be able to do in 2023, one in five (21%) will be putting off fixing broken appliances. 20% say they’ll be unable to fix poorly insulated areas and just under one in five (19%) – which is the equivalent of around 1 million households! – won’t be able to repair or service their boiler, which could be fatal if a fault goes undiagnosed. 

Top 10 essential home maintenance jobs homeowners are putting off this year

1. Fixing broken appliances 21%
2. Fixing poorly insulated areas 20%
3. Fixing mould and/or damp 20%
4. Boiler servicing and repairs 19%
5. Roof repairs 19%
6. Plumbing maintenance and repairs 18%
7. Fixing broken windows 17%
8. Gas safety check 16%
9. Electrical maintenance, upgrade or repairs 16%
10. Fixing broken/damaged doors 15%
Picture of a worried woman on the phone with a hand on her boiler

The Rising Cost Of Materials  

So, what’s behind the price rises? Well, there’s a number of factors that have contributed to inflating the cost of materials and operational costs for tradespeople – from the war in Ukraine to Brexit.  

In 2022, 94% of UK tradespeople experienced rising costs, and in 2023, 92% of tradespeople say their costs are increasing further.  

We took a look at official Government price indices for building materials and compounds over the past two years to see which materials saw the biggest price fluctuations, and it’s steel and concrete that saw the biggest price rises. In 2022, the price of concrete reinforcing steel bars was 44% higher on average than in 2021.  

Fabricated structural steel saw a 34% increase and the cost of pre-cast concrete products was 26% higher in 2022 when compared to the year before.  

Top 10 construction materials that saw the biggest average year-on-year price rises

1. Concrete reinforcing steel bars 44%
2. Fabricated structural steel bars 34%
3. Pre-cast concrete products 26%
4. Insulating materials (thermal or acoustic) 24%
5. Gravel, sand, clays and kaolin 23%
6. Blocks, bricks, tiles and flagstones 23%
7. Plastic doors and windows 22%
8. Bituminous mixtures from natural/artificial stone 20%
9. Builders woodwork 19%
10. Metal screws 18%
Picture of wood sheets stacked

The Trades That Will See The Biggest Drop In Demand in 2023 

The big rise in demand in 2020, 2021 and 2022 was incredible for tradespeople. But now, with fewer homeowners able to have work done, 2023 is set to be a more challenging landscape for tradespeople to navigate. 

Almost three in four (71%) tradespeople expect they’ll have work drop out this year because of the rising cost of living and 77% think homeowner demand will reduce.   

As homeowners double down on value for money investments, gardeners and landscape gardeners, bathroom fitters and handypeople are the top three trades that expect to have work drop out in 2023.  

At the other end of the scale, only around half of plumbers (54%) expect to have work drop out because jobs will be more expensive for homeowners. Roofers and electricians also appear to be less affected. 

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

1. Gardeners/ landscape gardeners 100%
2. Bathroom fitters 88%
3. Handypeople 78%
4. Builders 77%
5. Gas/ heating engineers 77%
6. Carpenters/ joiners 75%
7. Tilers 75%
8. Plasterers/ renderers 71%
9. Painters and decorators 69%
10. Electricians 62%
11. Roofers 57%
12. Plumbers 54%
Picture of a garden with a wooden pergola

How Tradespeople Are Attracting More Business In 2023  

To counter the challenges that tradespeople are facing in 2023, almost one in three (29%) plan to invest in marketing and advertising to attract more business. They’re also looking to expand their businesses to offer more services, improve their website/ social channels, potentially reduce prices if they can, and expand into different locations. 

Top 10 ways tradespeople are attracting more business in 2023

1. Investing in marketing and advertising 29%
2. Expanding to offer more services 25%
3. Improve website/social channels 25%
4. Consider reducing prices to pull in more work 24%
5. Expanding into different locations 24%
6. Investing in tools/vehicles 16%
7. Form partnerships to facilitate more jobs 14%
8. Increase wages to fill jobs 13%
9. Hire more workers 10%
10. Hire support for admin/business operations 8%

For more insights about home improvements and renovations, download the full 2023 report here. 

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