Demand for prime refurb work escalates

Design/build firm reports 30% jump in £1m+ projects

Demand for whole-house refurb work on £1m+ homes has jumped by nearly a third over the last year, according to one firm’s workload.

So it’s not a comprehensive survey of the state of play (the company usually does 20-25 projects each year), but it makes sense given pretty universal reports of tanking transaction levels in the upper value echelons.

Design-led resi construction and design firm Qualitas says it has just had a record year, and is starting 2017 with a “full book of projects” ranging between £250,000 and £1.25m as owners balk at moving costs that include that punchy 12% top rate SDLT bill.

The number of whole-house refurbishments for properties worth over £1m in 2016 was, as a result, 30% higher than in 2015.

As more homeowners opt to save on the tax bill by staying put and redeveloping their properties, refurb projects seems one getting more ambitious. Basements which span the whole footprint of the property and part of the garden are now the norm, reports Qualitas, and luxury features such as wine rooms are increasingly becoming standard practice.

Qualitas estimates that:

  • The average spend on refurbishment has increased by 50% over the past two years;
  • 80% of projects Qualitas undertakes includes a basement, compared to 50% two years ago;
  • 50% of whole-house projects Qualitas is due to start in 2017 feature a wine room.

Nick Woodworth, Director and Founder of Qualitas: “Despite the uncertainty around the economy, 2016 has been a very strong year for us.  Homeowners continue to feel confident investing in their properties and are being more ambitious than ever, particularly now that the cost of moving has become prohibitively expensive for many.”