Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Brexit has not deterred people from building their own homes, survey finds

Harvey Fremlin


Brexit is not a concern to those who are planning to build their own home according to a recent survey by the UK’s only national centre dedicated to the self-build sector.

Almost 400 people were questioned when they attended an open weekend at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre (NSBRC) based in Swindon during the autumn.

Harvey Fremlin, managing director of the NSBRC, said: “We surveyed visitors to our Autumn Show to find out why they were visiting, what type of work they were considering and whether external factors, such as Brexit, would influence their decision to go ahead.

“To our surprise of the 384 people questioned, 78.42 percent said they were undeterred about Brexit and would still push ahead – only 9.74 percent said they were worried and 7.89 percent said they were worried yet still would go ahead.

"At a time of such economic uncertainty and concern, we found this a very positive outcome.”

This result did not seem to reflect how people actually voted in the 2016 referendum. Of those questioned 42.52 percent said they voted to remain in the EU, 32.02 percent voted to leave, 15.75 percent didn’t want to say how they voted, and the remainder said they were neutral.

The survey asked a number of questions around self-building which is growing in popularity and which can be affected by economic factors.

“We’ve found over the years that wider issues in the economy can affect people’s decisions when it comes to self-building and can lead to more, or less, interest. For example following 2008’s credit crunch we saw a definite swing towards people improving their existing properties," said Harvey said.

"Then, as confidence grew, this shifted and now about 60 per cent of our visitors are building one off new homes.”

The survey also found visitors came from all over the country to find out about the latest techniques, products and innovation in self build, environmentally friendly techniques in building and home renovation. The top five places where visitors came from were:

Wiltshire 70
Gloucestershire 29
Hampshire 25
Wales 19
Oxfordshire 18

The most popular age group for visitors was 50 to 59 and the under 20s were represented by just one visitor.

The top three motivations for visiting the centre were:

To self build a new home – more than 46 percent
To undertake home improvements – 19.74 percent
To renovate a property – 19. 21 percent

Their reasons for undertaking such a project were:

To have better designed home – 38.28 percent
To have more environmentally friendly home – 23.18 percent
To achieve more space - 17.19 percent