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Creating ideal home is more important than increasing its value
May 7, 2010

According to new research revealed today, 74 percent of homeowners who dream of improving their property want to create the ideal home rather than increase its value. Housing charity Shelter and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) commissioned a survey of homeowners to find out more about their home improvement aspirations. The results showed that nearly three quarters of homeowners have a dream home improvement project and that making the most of space and improving the look of their property is their top motivation.
One in ten homeowners seeking to improve their property want to make it more environmentally friendly or energy efficient, while just eight percent were hoping to improve its value.
Kitchen extensions were the most popular home improvement (13%), closely followed by conservatories (12%) and attic conversions (10%).
Shelter and RIBA released the research to coincide with the launch this week of Architect in the House, a fundraising initiative now in its 14th year, in which architects nationwide offer free hour-long consultations to the public in return for a £40 suggested donation to Shelter. So far, the scheme has raised over £1 million for homeless and badly housed families and helped 50,000 homeowners realize their home improvement aspirations. It also aims to change people’s perceptions of architects and demystify what they do.
Over a quarter of homeowners surveyed said they would consider using an architect, with almost half agreeing that architects add value by creating a property that stands out. Over half of those who were not planning to use an architect felt their project was too small to warrant one.
Ruth Reed, President of the RIBA, said, “Architects can add a huge amount to any home improvement project, however big or small. Whether it’s knocking down a wall or creating a new extension, only architects can give the bigger picture, offering design inspiration, knowledge of the latest fixtures and fittings, and advice on everything from planning regulations to energy efficiency.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said, “This survey reveals that homeowners are almost ten times more likely to want to create a better home than merely increase its value, showing that home is so much more to people than just a financial asset. Unfortunately, the one million children in England living in overcrowded housing can only dream of a home where they have space to play, study and thrive."

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