The new housebuilding market is an important end use sector for kitchen and bathroom products, and in 2015 it was estimated to account for approximately 13% of the overall UK kitchen and bathroom products market. The market for kitchen and bathroom products in newbuild housing increased by an estimated 12% in 2015 reflecting the continued steady improvement in the UK economy, consumer confidence levels and significant growth in the UK housebuilding market in particular. Following a static period between 2011 and 2013, market conditions have steadily improved in 2014 and 2015 with housebuilding levels showing good growth, supporting new build kitchen sales via contractors, developers, distributors and the merchants. The shift towards three and four bedroom homes has supported larger new build kitchens and additional utility room installations in the new build sector.
Key trends in new build kitchens include; a focus on layout and design, growing popularity of kitchen-diners with a seating area, growing demand for ‘hotel-style’ quality interiors, increasing focus on durability, particularly in the social housing sector, increasing usage of well-known reputable brands of kitchen appliances in order to attract buyers and an increasing choice of worktop materials and designs.
Key trends in new build bathrooms include; a trend towards 2+ bathrooms / ensuites, increasing investment in quality fixtures and fittings offering longevity and luxury, minimalist designs, ‘future proofing’ of bathrooms so they can be easily adapted to changing needs, increasing popularity of wetroom areas, higher usage of digital technology in the premium sector, e.g. digital shower controls, spa baths, sensor operated mixer taps etc.
The new housing sector continued to recover with steady growth rates to mid-2016, underpinned by mortgage assistance schemes such as Help to Buy, a more buoyant economy and undersupply for a number of years. Housebuilders continue to focus on family homes, which should drive sales of larger, higher value kitchens. With a growing proportion of flats and apartments expected in the longer term and the small size of the average UK bathroom and kitchen, there will be a continuing demand for space-saving solutions. For example, wall-hung sanitaryware, clever kitchen storage designs, slim-line appliances, compact bathroom furniture, the shower bath etc. The referendum decision to leave the EU has resulted in some economic uncertainty and housebuilders are likely to remain cautious. Consequently, this may result in a lower level of housing starts in 2017, which will affect volume sales of bathroom and kitchen products into the new housing sector. However, overall value could be lifted somewhat by the higher costs of imported raw materials and products, which may support value growth in the kitchen and bathroom sector.