Spending on do-it-yourself projects has plummeted to its lowest level in more than 15 years amid the continued squeeze on household finances and a weak housing market, latest research shows.
Brits spent a total of £7.8 billion on DIY in 2011, or around £300 per household, the lowest total since records began in 1996 and almost half of the £15.5 billion spent at the home makeover peak in 2004, according to a Lloyds TSB study.
Real expenditure on equipment for home improvements – ranging from plumbing tools to garden trimmers – fell by almost a fifth from £3.8 billion in 2010 to £3.1 billion in 2011.
At the same time, spending on paint and plaster dipped by 16 per cent from £5.6 billion to £4.7 billion, the figures reveal.
Overall spending on home maintenance, including both DIY and tradesmen’s services, fell by 10 per cent to £14.8 billon in 2011 from the year before.
Between 2001 and 2007, spending on home improvements rose by almost a fifth as the housing market boomed, with tool purchases alone leaping by 82 per cent.
But since the housing market crash, the decline in real DIY spending has been dramatic, falling by 44 per cent in real terms, the bank said.
Over the past 10 years, spending on tradesmen’s services has plunged 40 per cent, while DIY budgets have shrunk by 34 per cent, according to the survey.
Suren Thiru, Lloyds TSB housing economist, said: “With economic conditions expected to remain challenging, the current squeeze on spending on both DIY and tradesmen is likely to continue for some time yet.”
Sign up to the Myfinances.co.uk newsletter to receive the latest financial news direct to your inbox.