Lofty ambitions: UK’s most lucrative home improvements revealed

25 February 2020

  • Landscaping can rake in a 43% profit on an average investment of £4,030
  • Cost of a loft conversion through the roof at £22,200
  • More than a third of millennials turn to social media for ‘home inspo’

Homeowners looking to convert their loft can expect to add an average of £11,020 to the price of their home, new research has revealed.

The latest study from Halifax found that on average, people who have recently carried out home improvements report an average increase of £4806 to the value of their home, with converting the attic generating the greatest return on investment.

Meanwhile, those going green with a living roof – an instagrammable feature where vegetation or plants are added to the roof of a property – is the second most lucrative improvement, raking in an average of £8,676.The top 10 most profitable home improvements also include bi-folding doors (£5,256), garage conversions (£4,847) and renovating period features (£4,731). (Table 1)

Out of the 10 most popular home improvements (Table 2), making the most of outdoor space is the biggest money spinner, with landscaping reaping a profit of 43% on an average investment of £4,030.

While the value of upgrading a property can be attractive, the actual cost of carrying out these works can be lofty. The average cost is £22,200 according to those who have already or are planning to transform their attic. For those looking to add the most value on a lower budget, installing bi-folding could help home improvers knock on an impressive 56% profit, according to the poll.

The study found that social media has the magic touch for younger people when it comes to home improvement inspiration. Almost four out of 10 (38%) 18-34 year-olds have been influenced to carry out work by social media, compared to one in five (22%) 35-44 year-olds, and fewer than one in 10 of those aged 55–64 (7%).

Russell Galley, Managing Director at Halifax, said: “While upgrading our homes is simply a labour of love for many of us, others invest in renovation to increase value and maximise selling potential. Social media is giving more people instant access to the latest home and interior trends at their fingertips, so it’s no surprise to find this influence filtering through to home improvements.

“Loft conversions and green features can generate attractive potential returns, yet traditional factors including location, local property price, access to schools and transport will continue to have a big influence on house prices. That’s why it’s important to do your research if you’re looking to sell as, you can get a better sense of the most attractive improvements by understanding your local markets.”

Similarly, home improvement TV programmes can be a powerful influencer amongst some age groups, with 41% of 18-34 year-olds saying they have been motivated to change their home after watching a TV show, and more than a quarter (27%) of 35-44 year-olds. Meanwhile, fewer than one in 10 (8%) of those aged over 65 turn to the box for inspiration.

Table 1: Top 10 most profitable upgrades

Table 1: Top 10 most profitable upgrades
Upgrade Value increase

Loft conversion
Living roof
Bi-folding doors
Garage conversion
Renovated/restored period features
Under-floor heating
Add or remove garage
Sound insulation
Stair/chair lift


Table 2: Top 10 popular upgrades completed by homeowners in the last three years:

Top 10 popular upgrades completed by homeowners in the last three years
Upgrade Percentage

New central heating boiler
Replacing windows
Roof repair/new roof
New heating
New heating insulation
Adding or replacing driveway
Adding/renovating outbuildings


However, homeowners looking to put their homes on the market may want to keep an eye on the main turn-offs for potential buyers. Water damage and structural work are the most common red flags for house hunters, therefore addressing issues before modernising may pay greater dividends in the long-term.

The volatile housing market could be the reason why so many are choosing to renovate for comfort versus value for sale potential. Homeowners list making their home a cosier living space as a reason for 40% of home improvements. Increasing energy efficiency (23%) and improving curb appeal (18%) are also popular reasons to bring out the tools. Just 15% of home improvements are completed to add capital value.