More than half of households planning home improvements

Large numbers of people are expected to take out loans for home improvement works.

Charlie Weston

MORE than half of households are considering home improvements due to more time spent at home.

They are motivated by a desire to increase the comfort and warmth of their homes.

But most are unsure of what supports and State grants are available, according to research commissioned by the Irish League of Credit Unions, Energia and House2Home.

It comes as credit unions are offering loans from 4.9pc for home improvement works.

To mark the nationwide launch of the CU Greener Homes scheme, research was conducted by iReach Insights.

It found that 56pc of Irish households are considering home improvements due to more time spent at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But almost two thirds are unsure of what supports and grants are available, while a majoirity don’t know where to start with a home energy efficiency upgrade.

The credit unions have combined with energy provider Energia and Irish owned retrofit company House2Home to launch a one-stop shop to allow for the processing of grants of up to 40pc and low-cost loans for home improvement works.

Insultation is the preferred home improvement work that most people are interested in getting done. Homeowners are considering exterior wall insulation, attic insulation and extra window glazing.

The research found that 64pc would spend up to €5,000 on home improvements, with a quarter planning to spend in excess of €10,000.

This indicates a wide range of improvements are being considered and a significant proportion of Irish households who are prepared to make a large investment in long-term upgrades.

A majority of those who recently carried out home improvement upgrades used their savings.

One in five borrowed to get work carried out.

Of those borrowing, 68pc turned to their local credit union with just 23pc using a bank.

One third of respondents who are planning future home improvements said they will borrow from a credit union, compared with only 10pc who plan to take a bank loan.

Most feel Ireland isn’t doing enough to reduce our carbon footprint.

The research also shows that issues around energy efficiency and climate change are prevalent in people’s thoughts.

Head of communications of the Irish League of Credit Unions Paul Bailey said: “We have been aware for some time, through our member credit unions, of the significant demand for a green home improvement loan.

“In keeping with the Government’s Climate Action Plan, we embarked on an explorative journey with Energia and House2Home to see how we could collaborate to deliver the SEAI preferred one stop shop approach to deep retrofitting.”

A similar initiative was launched by rival credit union representative body, the Credit Union Development Association (Cuda).