House prices and home improvements have historically been closely linked. Many improvements to the home are made to increase the saleability of the property, and with house prices predicted to continue to fall until 2025, we ask, will the home improvement market also falter?
Economists have previously noted a strong correlation between house prices and the home improvement industry. For instance, during the well-documented COVID boom years, the average UK house price increased by 10.2% between March 2020 and March 2021, with an estimated £110bn spent on home improvements by Brits in that period (Powered Now).
However, in October 2023, the average UK residential property price was down 3.3% compared to October 2022 (Nationwide), indicating a slump in house prices that Lloyds Bank predicts will continue well into 2025 – a hangover of increased borrowing and higher interest rates.
But despite the pessimism around the industry, we argue that this may not spell doom and gloom for home improvements.
Stick or twist
“As the housing market slows, we expect one of two things to happen,” says Rob McGlennon, managing director at Deceuninck. “The first option is that homeowners will choose to ride out the storm: they’ll stay put and sit tight until the market stabilises, and then go ahead with listing their property on the market.
“Or, the second option is that they will put the idea of moving on the back-burner and instead choose to invest in their home, making the improvements that they wanted from a new property, to their existing home. This is an attractive opportunity for homeowners, because if they do then choose sell in the future, they’ve then already added value to the home.”
This second option appears to be the choice in play at present. The owner of B&Q and Screwfix, Kingfisher, reported a 1.7% increase in sales that they attributed to British homeowners choosing to spend money on improving their homes as an alternative to moving home. They noted that one of their largest growing areas was an 11% growth in insulation materials, as homeowners looked to insulate their properties to help with the increased energy costs.
This is supported by Barbour ABI’s Home Improvement Report 2023, which showed that investments in renewables and water savings achieved an almost 35% increase in builders merchants’ sales in the period leading up to 2023 Q1, as opposed to 2022 Q1.
Sell the savings
“The key for fabricators and installers is to capitalise on this stalling in the housing market”, says Rob. “We have to be savvy and grasp every opportunity we can, and here we have a fairly unique situation where homeowners are actively choosing to invest rather than move. And not just that but invest in energy-saving products which is what our industry does best.”
Deceuninck is supporting its customers to take the energy efficiency message to the homeowner and maximise opportunities for this demand for more energy-efficient products, through its Energy Calculator.
Available to Deceuninck customers as a website plugin, it powerfully demonstrates how replacing old windows can save homeowners money while reducing their carbon footprint. According to the Energy Calculator, owners of a detached house on mains gas will save just over £18K in ten years if they upgrade from single-glazed wooden windows to triple-glazed Heritage 2800 from Deceuninck.
Even replacing existing PVC-U double-glazed windows with Traditional 2500 double-glazed windows from Deceuninck in a similar property will save the homeowner more than £6,500 over ten years, and more than 10 tons of carbon.
“It’s about physically showing the homeowner what a huge difference their windows make to the energy efficiency of their home”, explains Rob. “With the Energy Calculator, you can sit down with the homeowner and show them in real terms the savings that they would make through investing in new windows and doors.”
Standing the test of time
Sustainability is also a key driver for UK homeowners when considering home improvements, with independent research commissioned by Deceuninck and conducted by YouGov, showing that lowering their carbon footprint is a factor in purchasing decisions for almost 70% of UK homeowners.
Deceuninck has invested heavily in what the company claims is Europe’s most advanced recycling and compounding facilities. A new multi-million-pound site in Belgium gives Deceuninck the capability to reprocess up to 45,000 tonnes of post-consumer and post-manufacturing PVC-U per year, which is the equivalent of preventing three million windows from going to landfill annually.
Consequently, Deceuninck’s main suite of energy efficient window and door profiles can include up to 50% recycled material. This is manufactured using leading edge co-extrusion technologies, which isolate recycled content in areas away from the surface of the product, guaranteeing finish and performance.
“The technology is there today to manufacture a 100% recycled window”, Rob continues, “We’ve done it with Phoenix, our 100% recycled window.
“In bringing post-consumer material back into use on a day-to-day basis at a lower level, we’re already lowering the carbon footprint of our products but critically, we’re designing them to be easier to recycle at end of life, pushing down the carbon footprint of the next generation of products.”
Elegant is one of this new generation of energy efficient window and door systems from Deceuninck. The fiberglass composite window delivers a step change in performance achieving U-values as low as 0.8W/m2K. Built around a single ultra-energy-efficient modular frame which is available as a standard 76mm system, the casement can be combined with any of five different sash options.
“Our advice to fabricators and installers would be to double whammy your sales opportunities: not only are homeowners looking to make energy saving home improvements, but they’re also wanting to choose the highest quality, sustainable options that will stand the test of time whilst lowering their homes’ environmental impact.
To do that, you need a suite of products that combine both energy efficiency and sustainability, and that’s what we pride ourselves on here at Deceuninck.”