'Tis the season to renovate with surge in home improvements
A huge number of people are getting their homes spruced up for Christmas - with the number opting to renovate rising by almost a third this winter.
New figures reveal an increase of 32pc in home improvement projects submitted by homeowners, according to online home services marketplace OnlineTradesmen.ie.
Average spending on projects this Christmas is set to be around €4,100.
This is 19pc higher than households were spending on painting works, kitchen refits and bathroom refurbishments a year ago.
The website has been tracking home improvement projects over the last two years.
It found that painting and decorating, along with kitchen refits and bathroom renovations are the most popular.
There has been a 49pc surge in the number of painting and decorating jobs alone this winter, figures seen by the Irish Independent show.
Chief executive of Online Tradesman.ie Ted Laverty said there is always a demand for home improvement jobs ahead of the Christmas break, but this year the demand is particularly strong.
"Our figures reveal both the continuing growth of the home improvement sector and the influence of the Christmas period for getting things done in the home," he said.
He said the urge to get homes done up ahead of the seasonal festival was likely because of the extended time families spend at home together over the break, or due to the impending visit of family and friends over the holidays.
"Regardless of the reasons, the year-on-year increase for projects this year has been unprecedented," Mr Laverty said.
He said many tradesmen have been booked for months in advance for jobs, which builders see as a welcome change from three years ago.
OnlineTradesman.ie enables home owners to submit home improvement and repair jobs to get free quotes back from qualified and rated trade professionals anywhere in Ireland.
To date the service has processed more than 850,000 projects from property owners and has thousands of qualified tradesmen members.
It is estimated that Irish homeowners spend €3.3bn on the repair, maintenance and improvement of their homes and apartments in 2015.
Home improvement works of residential properties now accounts for almost a third of the value of construction activity, according to a recent analysis by the Construction Industry Federation.
Of this €3.3bn, homeowners availed of €846m through the State's home renovation incentive scheme launched by the Government in 2013.
This facilitated more than 54,000 home improvement projects in 2015 as people sought to improve existing residences rather than purchase new homes.
The extension of the home renovation incentive to rental properties in late 2014 has also added further activity to this sector.
Data released by Revenue has shown that 26,150 works were carried out on 19,388 properties across the country in 2015, with a total of €391.8m spent on the renovations.