Bank of Ireland has reported a 38% increase in consumers applying for a home improvement loan in the first quarter of 2017 versus the same period last year.
The average loan application amount to the Bank has remained unchanged at €12,000 and the average loan term is steady at five years. Applicants over 35 years of age account for 77% of all applications, the largest proportion of applicants (41%) fall into the 35-44 year old group with over one third (36%) of applications aged over 45.
In terms of gender, males tilt the balance, accounting for 61% of home improvement applications. More than one in four (27%) applicants were looking to borrow between €10,000 and €20,000, while a similar proportion (25%) requested amounts greater than €20,000. 16% of applicants requested loans of €5,000.
Figures provided by Onlinetradesmen.ie, Ireland's largest source website for qualified trade professionals, revealed that it saw a 22% increase in home improvement projects submitted by consumers in Q1 this year. For the first quarter, there were approximately 17,000 home improvement projects completed by Onlinetradesmen.ie with the largest proportion (21%) relating to repairs and maintenance.
Home owners are continuing the trend of making their home larger with 12% completing extensions in their homes. Kitchen / bathroom refurbishment and internal carpentry jobs accounted for 14% of projects. Painting and decorating remain popular home improvement projects this year, generating 10% of online enquiries, while landscaping accounted for 3%, down on last year.
In terms of how customers are applying for loans, Self Service Channels (online and phone) account for nearly three quarters of applications (74%) and of these, online is the preference.
Discussing consumers’ appetite for loans, Christine Hamill, Head of Retail Loans, Bank of Ireland said: “For the second year running we have seen a significant increase in loan applications for home improvements, indicating that 2017 will continue to be a busy year for trade professionals and DIY enthusiasts. The popularity of TV programmes like RTE’s ‘Room to Improve’ encourages homeowners to invest in their homes and put time and money into sprucing up the property. With summer approaching we expect DIY enthusiasts to ramp up their renovation and home improvement plans.”
Highlighting trends in his sector, Ted Laverty, Managing Director, Onlinetradesmen.ie said: “The most popular projects which our tradesmen are picking up are repair and maintenance jobs, with one in five jobs in this category. With property prices rising, more people are also extending their homes and improving key areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. This is a trend which we expect to continue.”
Bank of Ireland’s home improvement loan offers competitive variable rates from 7.5% APR on borrowings from €300 to €65,000 with repayment periods from one to seven years. Customer can make extra repayments and clear the loan early with no penalty fees.