nsbrc survey results

A new survey of consumers who’ve visited the National Self Build and Renovation Centre shows people’s ambition to self build has not been affected by the cost-of-living crisis.

The survey of would-be home builders or renovators found that these people’s plans were still on track, with more than half of those surveyed stating that the economic downturn had affected on their plans, but that it hadn’t changed their minds about their projects. Of the 644 responders, just 2% said they had set their project aside.

What became clear was that many were feeling the effects of the cost of living crisis, and were opting to change their project, either by revising the spec, scale or model.

For many this was to increase affordability, such as by undertaking more work themselves as a form of sweat equity, which was cited by almost half (47%) of those surveyed. Another large cohort were planning more energy-saving measures to bring down longer term operational costs, with more than a third of respondents saying this as a direct response to the current economic conditions.

Harvey Fremlin, Managing Director of the NSBRC, said the findings were reflected by customers at the centre: “Sustainability and thinking about the energy use of the future is a key priority for our customers. The recent news of possible fuel rationing this winter shows more than ever how important it is to invest in sustainable, energy-efficient measures, and it’s obvious to us from the conversations we have that people are absolutely clear on not compromising on this issue. It’s really important to them.”

View the findings

Other survey findings

As in last year’s survey, the 2022 data showed that almost 70% of people embarking on a major project are at least 55 years old and 35% of them are retired. For many, this is their first self-build project and their intention is to build a home that will carry them through the rest of their lives. These people are building as the time is right in their life, which explains why so many remained committed to the idea of building.

In this scenario, knowledge is power, and the NSBRC has seen a large amount of interest in its courses, with subjects like project management, building systems and internal finishes reflecting the desire to bring costs down through undertaking some of the work themselves. New workshops at the centre focus on sustainability with events on eco-friendly builds and retrofits and a special workshop on ‘Passivhaus’.

  • 79% of people embarking on a major project of this kind choosing to build a completely new home – a rise from 73% in 2021 survey
  • 95% stated that, if they couldn’t self-build, they would not buy a newbuild property, reflecting concerns around choice and build quality – with quality being the prime motivator.
  • 36% had been looking for a plot for more than three years
  • over 70% say they now feel a plot on a smaller settlement is a more realistic expectation.

“These results really show just how resilient people are and how, even when we’re living through very challenging times, the kind of environment we create for ourselves and our ideas of what ‘home’ means are of fundamental importance to us,” says Harvey. “Even if people have to make some compromises because of limited finances or other factors, the determination to go ahead and find a way to make it happen in a sustainable and tailored way is undimmed. It’s incredibly encouraging.”


About the survey

The NSBRC questioned 644 people looking to build or renovate about budgets, priorities, motivations and sustainable building practices.

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