DIY spending hits a seven year high of £5.8bn - is it wise?

The wrong DIY can do more harm than good

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Spending on DIY home improvements has soared to £5.8 billion - or the equivalent of £210 per household per year. It's a clear sign that we cannot afford to move up the property ladder, so we are opting to improve rather than move. However, if you're getting into DIY this Bank Holiday, it's vital you don't do more harm than good.

The figures, from Lloyds Bank, found that DIY spending rose 13% in 2015 to its highest level since 2008. This has been fuelled in part by people feeling their homes are more valuable - and therefore more worthwhile investing in.

The past ten years have demonstrated how spending on home maintenance has a strong link to the performance of the housing market. Spending reduced by around 31% between the height of the housing market in 2007, and the bottom of the market in 2011. As the market picked up between 2011 and 2015, spending on DIY increased by 18% again, to bring home maintenance spending closer to 2005 levels.

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However, on a less positive note, thousands of people are also driven by the fact that the runaway property market has made it so difficult to trade up, that they have been forced to stay put and improve their home.

The high cost of living means we are forgoing tradespeople too. The study found that the amount spent on tradesmen's services fell by 15% between 2014 and 2015 to £1.6 billion. This means that for every £1 spent on tradesmen, almost £4 (£3.65) is spent on DIY tools and materials

Andrew Mason, Lloyds Bank Mortgage Products Director, said: "Taking a DIY approach to home improvements helps cut costs and provides homeowners with the opportunity to put their own distinctive stamp on their property."

However, these trends mean that it's not just competent and committed individuals who are getting stuck into DIY over the long weekend: the desperate and the cash-strapped are giving it a go too.

The trouble is that these DIYers can end up causing more problems than they solve. A study by Policy Expert found that while 57% are confident in their abilities, 20% have had a costly DIY disaster in the past.

A separate study by Zoopla recently found that a quarter of people who start DIY projects don't get round to finishing them - which is considered one of the most off-putting things you can do to your property if you ever want to sell it later.

Lawrence Hall, spokesperson for Zoopla comments: "Our research shows that Brits are inspired by upcoming Bank Holidays and ready themselves for DIY projects. However the research also shows that 24% of us fail to maintain our enthusiasm and complete on our DIY projects. The key to any DIY project is good preparation and not to take on too much."

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