Trying to characterise a typical self builder is not easy especially given the variables involved (location, income, age, build route, material choices, build cost, to name only a few).

To better understand the self and custom build market, Homebuilding & Renovating commissioned and produced the Self & Custom Build Market Report following a comprehensive consumer survey of 500 self builders who had either just completed or were about to complete their project.

Survey Results

  • Age of average self builder has risen by five years in the past decade
  • Most common age for self builders in between 55 and 64

Comparing this 2017 survey with Buildstore survey data from 2007 suggests that the average age of the self builder has risen by about 5 years over that 10 year period.

This is to be expected given the low growth in incomes among the young and their significantly lower level of housing equity. It is consistent with changes in the wider housing market, in particular the rising average age of homeowners.

Meanwhile, the statistics suggest that those on pensions, on average at least, have never had it so good financially.

What Does it Mean?

That’s not to say that people in their early 20s or late 70s do not take on self build projects –they do. Around 4.5% of our surveyed self builders were in their 20s and around 3.5% were in their 70s (an increase of around 2.5% for each age group compared to the 2007 survey results).

But it’s the late 50s and early 60s that seems to be the golden age right now. The number of self builders in their 50s increased by 5%, while the number of self builders in their 60s increased by 11% between 2007 and 2017.

Once you adjust for differences in the populations, our survey suggests that you are about three and a half times more likely to find a self builder among those 55 and 64 years old than among those in their late 20s and early 30s.

To contextualised this shift, it helps to turn to the English Housing Survey. It suggests that in the 10 years 2006 to 2016, the numbers of homeowners older than 45 rose by about 9% while the number of homeowners younger than 45 declined by 30%.

The average (mean) age of the 2017 surveyed self builders came in at 51 years old, with the median age group being 50-54 years old.

While this may not surprise many, it would be wrong to think this general picture is painted consistently across the whole of the UK. Urban self builders are, for instance, on average younger (48 years old) than those in rural locations (52 years old).

The Homebuilding & Renovating Self & Custom Build Market Report
is available for purchase here.

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