Spending on DIY falls to 12-year low

When was the last time you picked up a paint brush? A study shows we're spending less on DIY than at any time since 1998 as the Big Squeeze on family finances takes hold. Building materials have also become more expensive in the wake of the commodity price boom.



Household spending on DIY came to £9.5 billion in 2010 - which works out at £352 per household, according to research from Lloyds TSB which uses government figures. This is down 13% in real terms (i.e. after allowing for inflation) from the £10.9 billion spent in 2009.

Spending on home maintenance - DIY and tradesmen's services - has fallen by 9% over the past year, from £17.8bn in 2009 to £16.2 billion in 2010. Spending on builders fell by 3% over the same period from £6.9bn to £6.7bn.

Even so, over the past decade, UK households have increasingly looked to do it themselves instead of paying for builders. In 2000, UK households spent 7% more in real terms on hiring tradesmen than DIY. By the end of the decade, this trend had been reversed as households spent 41% more on DIY than on hiring tradesmen in 2010.

And while DIY expenditure sits at a 12-year low, down 0.2% since 2000, this drop is still much smaller than the 34% fall in spending on tradesmen's services over the same period.

Suren Thiru, Lloyds TSB Housing Economist, said: "Spending on DIY has fallen significantly over the past year. The current squeeze on household finances from high inflation and weak earnings growth has made it difficult for many households to spend as much as they used to on discretionary items such as home maintenance. However, the benefits associated with maintaining or improving your property is likely to ensure that over the long term the popularity of DIY will remain enduring."

The latest available regional figures show that households in Wales are the UK's biggest spenders on DIY, with an average outlay of £588 in 2009, followed by the North East (£572) and the West Midlands (£556). In contrast, those living in the North West (£322) spent the least on DIY.

Annual household spending on DIY by region, 2009

Average Annual DIY expenditure £s

As % of total Housing Expenditure

Wales

588

10.3%

North East

572

11.1%

West Midlands

556

8.2%

South East

536

5.2%

South West

515

7.3%

London

484

4.7%

East

478

5.8%

Northern Ireland

463

9.7%

East Midlands

442

7.1%

Yorkshire and the Humber

380

7.3%

Scotland

354

5.3%

North West

322

5.4%

Sources: ONS, Lloyds TSB calculations

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