How will inflation affect building values, the housing market and purchasing habits?


By the end of 2021 general inflation (CPI) had increased to 5.4 %, the highest rate for 30 years, with current forecasts for later in the year in excess of +7.5% . In respect of domestic buildings, rebuild values continue to be impacted by higher claims repairs and replacement costs that have been increasing well above inflation rate for some time now.  For instance, the annual increase for Buildings in May 2022 is +10.12%.


In addition, the average cost of buying a home in the UK has increased by 10% approximately in the past year alone and historically has also outpaced inflation.


Whilst house prices have increased significantly, much of this was due to the stamp duty holiday and increased demand as plans to move were brought forward as a result of Covid-19.  This year the base rate and mortgage rates are on the way up and with higher taxes and energy costs on the horizon, this is likely to place a cap on further large scale price rises in property values this year. However, homes remain in short supply and demand is still healthy so values shouldn’t collapse any time soon, provided that there is no significant hike in base rates. Should the cost of borrowing increase significantly and not turn out to be a short term blip, then house prices are likely to be stagnant for some time to come.

a 7.5% increase in 2022 will put pressure on insurers’ claims outlay

This cannot be said for the calculation of re-building costs, a major pricing consideration when it comes to home building insurance. These costs are directly linked to the costs of raw materials, its transportation and labour, and a 7.5% increase in 2022 will put pressure on insurers’ claims outlay. 

Building Valuations

Demand for increased living space, lifestyle changes and the wish to relocate outside cities will likely fuel demand by construction companies to build larger homes and less smaller properties. It’s likely demand will increase further as will the prices of 4-5 bedroom homes, increasing the market for Mid and HNW insurers.

Small homes will still be in demand and built but the average values are likely to remain static due to the affordability constraints; which are likely only to become more difficult as inflation hits wage packets further. Lenders are already taking more interest in applicants expenses, like energy costs.

Premium rates in the Home insurance market have reflected a relatively soft market for some time now but these are surely to rise given the pressure of inflation. Which is a result of world-wide shortages and supply issues, including transport, fuel, aviation, shipping costs. All of which impact on claims outlay and direct expenses.

Whilst there has been some improvement in the supply chain there remains higher inflation on transport and raw material, impacting overall manufacturing costs

The days of companies relying upon cheap labour have ended following Brexit. The UK is currently adjusting to the need to invest more in training specialist labour, particularly in the construction industry.

In addition, availability of building materials and labour is being influenced by the demand for home improvements. Due to the additional savings accumulated and time spent at home during lockdown. More recent events can only put increased pressure on fuel and costs.

Our 2022 predictions

With so many uncertainties facing policyholders over inflation and its future direction it’s more important than ever to ensure any buildings insurance contains an index linking provision to increases sums insured monthly. This will ensure the risks of being accidentally underinsured are managed and minimised.

Our HNW products, Executive Home and Plus go further and contain not only automatic index linking of sums insured but also a professional buildings sum insured valuation service to ensure sums insured are correctly appraised.

Mark ArendsThis article was written by our HNW technical consultant, Mark Arends.