Home improvement across England reached a record 417,000 planning applications between March 2014 and March 2015, increasing by 18 per cent compared to the same timeframe in 2011 and 2012, and has also illustrated a home-improver North/South divide.

The latest home improvement data, compiled by construction data experts Barbour ABI, shows increases across all regions of England, however it was predominantly Southern England that made the biggest jump, with Greater London increasing applications by 35 per cent when compared to 2011/12 figures

Commenting on the figures, Michael Dall, Lead Economist at Barbour ABI, said: “With personal equity and income increasing, homeowners are getting more of an opportunity to improve their property investments to add significant value, however this varies across the country at different ends of the scale.

“For example it’s predicted that over the next five years London house prices could rise by almost 30 per cent, which makes it more logical for landlords and homeowners to add further equity to their investments.

“In the Northern regions of England house prices are continuing to grow, but it is a stark contrast when compared to the South. Thousands of pre-recession buyers have found themselves in negative equity due to the record high house prices pre 2007, alongside not benefiting from the rapid house price growth many Southern regions have recently experienced.

“Overall as a country, homeowners are increasingly choosing to improve and extend their properties. It can be debated that this is due to increased income, negative equity or even a lack of new housing available.”