Lockdowns cause surge on home improvement spending in Ireland

The coronavirus pandemic created many unforseen circumstances in people’s daily lives. Perhaps the biggest among these was the effects of the lockdown. People had to stay in their homes for much longer than they normally would, and many people were stuck working at home. It is no surprise, then, that a record number of home improvement projects have been carried out over the last year and a half.

Research by Aviva Insurance Ireland shows that 1.5 million homeowners have carried out work on their homes over the past year, with the total cost of these projects coming in at more than €11 billion. In addition to these numbers, another 861,000 people have plans to undertake home improvement projects, the survey says. The survey captured almost every type of home improvement imaginable, from minor fixes like painting a room or replacing windows, to large projects like building extensions onto homes or adding a home office, the latter of which was definitely popular as the country and the world transitioned to a remote work environment.

Aviva Insurance added that this surge in home improvement spending was “undoubtedly driven” by the lifestyle changes related to the covid-19 pandemic. As significant amount of these home improvements were direct results of pandemic lockdowns and their consequences. 43 percent of those who carried out work said that the work was carried out due to increased time spent at home, and one in five (20 percent) said that the work was done because it was more financially feasible due to money saved over the course of the pandemic. 6 percent said that they had a home office constructed to keep home life and work life separate during the shift to working from home.

The average amount spent was quite small, with 72 percent of home renovations coming in at under €5,000, according to the survey. Almost one quarter spent between €5,000 and €20,000 on their respective projects, while 5 percent spent between €20,000 and €50,000. As expected, expenses of over €50,000 were the least common, with just one percent of respondents claiming they spent this much on home improvements.

The majority of those who had work done on their homes were between 35 and 54 years old, in line with the demographic of young professionals most affected by working at home.

About half of the people who had completed work said they did it themselves, while the remainder hired contractors and tradespeople to complete their projects in their homes. This home improvement boom shows no signs of stopping anytime soon, as, out of the 861,000 who plan to complete further work, approximately 408,000 have not yet started their projects. Of those who have not yet started, 20 percent said the lockdowns have delayed their plans.

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