Racing ahead of the Joneses

(03rd May 2013)

Brits admit to it’s no longer about keeping up with neighbours, it’s all about being one step ahead!

The old adage ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ should be updated to ‘Racing ahead of the Joneses’ as a new report shows that Brits love to go one step further than their neighbours when making improvements to their homes. According to the survey by Anglian Home Improvements, a third of Brits brazenly admit their home improvements are done purely to make sure they have the most attractive house on the street, while a fifth confess their main motivation is to make sure they are not outdone by those next door.

Thanks to the popularity of home improvement TV shows, it seems the UK’s home owners are forever making nips and tucks to their houses. The survey found that despite the ongoing economic slump, one in four of us make improvements to our property several times a year, with half of those surveyed saying they would like or are planning to fit a new kitchen or bathroom, while one in four aspire to have a conservatory. Meanwhile, the average amount those surveyed have spent on home improvements in the last couple of years is £2,706, while one in eight have spent more than £5,000.

When undertaking home improvements, almost half of the respondents in the study said they keep their home improvement plans close to their chests and will only talk about what they’re doing if asked directly. But when our neighbours are the ones making changes, many of us will go to great lengths to find out every detail. One in six say they take sneaky looks at what their neighbours are doing without telling them, or show up on the doorstep to get a first-hand look at what’s going on.

And like any hard-fought battle, it can get nasty with one in ten having fallen out with neighbours over home improvements because of things like noise, planning permission, mess and neighbours’ improvements not being in keeping with the rest of the street.

Melanie McDonald, Head of Marketing and Communications at Anglian Home Improvements, says, “The findings of the survey are very much in line with our experience at Anglian, as we often find that once one household has had its windows upgraded we’ll get called back to visit others in the same street enquiring about new windows or perhaps building a conservatory. Despite the tough economic times, the evidence proves that we’re still a very house proud nation and it certainly seems that it is as important as ever to keep up appearances.”

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