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The Home Improvement Index 2024

Regional Profiles: South East

London’s commuter belt to the south still dominates the rankings of boroughs in the South East, with Sevenoaks topping the 2023 listings. The pandemic did little to shift that pattern and may well have strengthened it. Thanet, however, was the only borough to see its applications-to-home ratio remain above the pre-pandemic peak.

South East - Change in applications by type 2022 & 2023

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The South East is the most dominant region in terms of volume of applications. Trends here tend to strongly influence trends nationally. And it has dragged down national activity across most main types of home improvement in 2023. Over the period 2019 to 2023 the regional market for extensions, loft, and garden works, performed worse than the national average. This may in part reflect its house price growth which was weaker than average. It may also reflect relatively slower earnings growth in recent years. 

South East - Regional Home improvement apps per 1k private homes

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However, on home improvements relating to energy saving measures, the South East performed better and from a relatively high base. It is perhaps no surprise the region has been among the brightest spots when it comes to applications for home offices. These recent trends seem to illustrate an effect of greater affluence in a region. Those households with greater wealth or income can more easily and quickly find funds to invest in cost saving measures or adjustments to suit lifestyle changes.

South East - Average House price at Dec 2023 & annual change

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South East - Top 10 districts for home improvement

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*The rankings are based on the number of home improvement applications, as defined by Barbour ABI (see methodology), per 1,000 private homes. Given the impacts of the pandemic, 2023 is compared with 2019 as benchmark.

South East - Share of regional applications involving key types in 2023

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*Note: A single application may include any number of the above key types

South East - Regional spending on alterations and improvement to homes over 2021 and 2022

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Source: ONS Family Expenditure Survey.
Caveat: The data can vary significantly year to year given sample the sizes. This is partially smoothed in our use of the data by taking an average over two years.

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