Homeowners keen to make improvements

Homeowners keen to make improvements

The enthusiasm held by millions of Britons for investing in property has been finding an outlet even as the market collapses.

Those who cannot move are busy undertaking home improvements, according to Sainsbury’s Finance.

The personal loan provider estimates that last year, around 425,000 loans worth over £4 billion were taken out solely to pay for such work, representing a 24% increase in volume and a 22% increase in value, on 2007.

Meanwhile, the lender estimates that last year, 1.1 million loans worth £11.3 billion were taken out partially or wholly to cover home improvements, a 53% rise on loans taken out partially or wholly for home improvements during 2007.

Sainsbury’s head of loans, Steven Baillie, believes the figures suggest people are staying put and making the most of their existing homes and possibly also attempting to add value to their dwellings, which can be cashed in when the market recovers.

However, homeowners with such a strategy may have to bide their time as several commentators on the market are predicting a fall in UK house prices of around 15% this year, on top of the 15.9% annual decline registered by Nationwide in December.

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