new build verses old build

With an increased demand for move-in-ready homes, renovating a property could provide landlords with the opportunity to increase rental value, however, this can be a costly endeavour.

To reveal where in the UK it’s the most cost-effective to renovate or ‘flip’ a rental property, CIA Landlord Insurance has looked at the 28 most populated cities in the UK and found the average daily rate of 10 types of skilled tradespeople, essential to renovating a home.

The research also explores where there is the highest number of tradespeople in comparison to the population of each city to give landlords insight into the cities where it’s easier to find support for a renovation project.

The 10 trade industries utilised in this research include builders, joiners, handypersons, plumbers, plasterers, electricians, glaziers, tilers, gardeners and painters and decorators.

The top five cheapest cities to renovate a home in the UK 

The top five cheapest cities to renovate a house in the UK have been calculated by totalling the daily rates charged by the 10 tradespeople essential to renovating a property.

  • Leicester — Average cost per day: £1,723

Leicester is the cheapest city to renovate or ‘flip’ a home out of the 28 UK cities researched. The combined day rate of the 10 tradespeople essential to flipping a home in Leicester totals £1,723.

Leicester is a good location for landlords interested in a renovation project that may involve structural changes as it has the lowest day rates for builders (£173), plasterers (£158) and handymen (£56) of all the 28 cities researched. Making structural changes to keep up with housing trends, such as open-plan living areas, can increase the value of a property.

For landlords, making changes in line with the local market and asking prices can be worth the investment long term. For example, expanding the number of bedrooms in a property to match the location’s average for rental properties will improve marketability and potentially increase the monthly rent.

2. Coventry  Average cost per day: £1,817

Coventry is the second most affordable city per day to renovate a property. Each of the 10 trades important to flipping a home are priced consistently low.

With the third-cheapest cost for painters (£155) in the UK and the second-cheapest for plasterers per day (£164), Coventry is the perfect location for landlords interested in an inexpensive, aesthetic redecorating project.

However, it may be worth landlords avoiding investing in a property requiring electrical changes, as electricians in Coventry cost an average of £237 per day – the 11th most expensive daily cost across the UK cities researched.

3. Wolverhampton — Average cost per day: £1,845

Wolverhampton is the third most cost-effective city per day to renovate a property with some of the lowest costs for seven out of the 10 trades essential to renovating a property.

Wolverhampton is tied with Liverpool as the least expensive city to hire painters at a cost of just £153 per day. Both cities are good locations for landlords interested in simply re-decorating a rental property to add value.

Wolverhampton is also home to the second most inexpensive glaziers, with costs on average of £161 per day. Replacing old windows with new ones can help the energy consumption of a property, which may be more appealing to renters looking to save on bills.

However, landlords should be aware that joiners, plasterers and handymen are some of the more expensive tradespeople to hire in Wolverhampton. Therefore, looking for a property with minimal need for these trades, for example, a home which requires minor touch-ups, such as paintwork, will help limit the cost of renovation.

4. Birmingham — Average cost per day: £1,855

Birmingham also makes it into the top five locations cheapest to hire the 10 professionals essential to a renovation.

Painters and decorators in Birmingham charge the third-lowest day rate in the UK alongside Sheffield and Bradford (£165 per day). Birmingham also has the third lowest-priced glaziers in the UK at £164 for a day’s work on average. This makes Birmingham a cost-effective city for investment properties needing re-decoration.

5. Cardiff — Average cost per day: £1,865

Cardiff is home to the second cheapest electricians (£209) and builders (£177) per day in the UK, making it a great city to renovate a property in need of rewiring or structural changes.

However, there are a number of trades in Cardiff that are not as competitively priced as electricians and builders. Painters in Cardiff charge a daily rate of £171 and joiners an average of £180, meaning Cardiff ranks 12th across the 28 cities as the most expensive for these trades.

The below map shows the top 10 cheapest UK cities in which to flip a home:

London, Luton and Reading are the most expensive cities to flip a home in the UK

The table below shows the 10 most expensive cities to flip a home:

UK City  Average daily rate of hiring all the necessary tradespeople for a renovation per day (£)
London 2,319
Luton 2,250
Reading 2,196
Southampton 2,191
Edinburgh 2,141
Glasgow 2,126
Brighton & Hove 2,110
Bournemouth 2,105
Northampton 2,102
Aberdeen 2,090

London, Luton, and Reading are the three most expensive cities to hire the 10 essential tradespeople to renovate a home per day.

Ranking as the most expensive city amongst the 28 researched, the cost of all 10 tradespeople needed to renovate a property in London will set landlords back £2,319 per day. Joiners (£224), electricians (£270) and plasterers (£210) are the most costly in London.

Luton is the second most expensive city to renovate a house in the UK with the total cost of hiring all 10 trades per day at £2,250. Luton is a particularly expensive location for landlords with a property that needs plumbing work as a plumber costs £282 per day and a tiler £213 on average.

Reading is the third most expensive city in the country to renovate a house with a total cost of £2,196 to hire all 10 tradespeople needed. Reading is also the fourth most expensive out of the 28 UK cities analysed to hire a plumber (£239 per day). This is higher than the average day rates in London (£231 per day) and Luton (£225 per day).

Cities with the highest and lowest number of skilled professionals 

For landlords planning a renovation under time pressure, the availability of tradespeople in the city their property is located is an important consideration.

Luton has the highest number of tradespeople per 100,000 citizens in the UK with 990 skilled professionals for landlords to choose from to help renovate a property. This city has the most available handymen (279), builders (274), joiners (123), plasterers (62), glaziers (56), tilers (46), gardeners (34), plumbers(29) and electricians (21).

Reading has the second-highest number of tradespeople in relation to its population, with 558 tradespeople per 100,000 citizens.

While Luton (£2,250 per day) and Reading (£2,196 per day) are expensive for labour when renovating, the high number of tradespeople per 100,000 makes it easier for landlords to hire skilled professionals to suit their renovation timelines.

Brighton and Wolverhampton are good locations for landlords in need of support with structural renovations. These cities have the highest number of builders in relation to citizens. Brighton has 132 builders per 100,000 people and Wolverhampton has 112 builders per 100,000 people. There is also a high number of available joiners, electricians, plumbers, plasterers, gardeners, glaziers, tilers and handymen in both cities who can help with extensive changes to a property.

If landlords are interested in investing in a property which only needs aesthetic remodelling, then Manchester is a good city to consider as this city has the highest number of painters and decorators (89) per 100,000 people.

Aberdeen has the lowest number of available skilled tradespeople

Aberdeen, Hull and Glasgow have the lowest number of tradespeople in the UK per 100,000 citizens.

In Aberdeen, the number of tradespeople available per 100,000 people is only 34, making it potentially the most difficult city out of all 28 researched to renovate a home. Following Aberdeen is Hull, which has 51 tradespeople per 100,000 people, and Glasgow which has 64 tradespeople per 100,000 people. Landlords looking to flip a property in these cities need to be aware that it’s likely to take longer to find and employ tradespeople which may delay renovations.

Across all 28 cities surveyed, electricians are the most scarce trade, with only 129 available per 100,000 people. When starting a renovation landlords should consider booking an electrician well in advance to ensure they have the help they need in a timely fashion.

The below chart shows the UK cities with the highest and lowest number of tradespeople:

The most in-demand tradespeople to flip a home

Based on Google search volume, plumbers are the most in-demand tradespeople across the UK with over 20,000 searches made per month – 5,000 searches more than the next most-searched-for profession, electricians. Ranking third are gardeners, with 11,160 searches made for these workers per month across the 28 cities researched.

The cities with the highest search volume for all 10 trades per 100,000 people are Aberdeen (2,314 searches per month), Edinburgh (1,796 searches per month) and Northampton (1,653 searches per month). Aberdeen also has the highest demand for plumbers (over 500 searches are made per 100,00 citizens per month) and electricians (over 360 searches per 100,000 people are made per month). With only one electrician available per 100,000 people in this city, landlords with properties requiring electrical work may find that it is harder to acquire a tradesperson for this skill meaning renovation timelines may be delayed.

Edinburgh has the second-highest demand for electricians – there are 280 searches made per 100,000 people here. With just two electricians available per 100,000 people in this city, landlords should also factor in the time frames of getting electrical work completed in their renovation plans.

The table below shows the average monthly searches for the 10 essential trades needed to flip a house:

Ranking Trade Avg. Monthly search volume by industry for all cities per 100,000 people
1 Plumbers 20,280
2 Electricians 15,190
3 Gardeners 11,160
4 Builders 8,220
5 Joiners 7,290
6 Tilers 7,020
7 Painters and decorators 6,650
8 Handymen 6,600
9 Plasterers 6,340
10 Glaziers 2,150

Renovating a property is a significant investment, especially with current rising house prices. However, renovating a property can increase its rental value, which in turn, can benefit landlords financially. In order to effectively navigate the renovation and rental market as well as the tradespeople within it, it’s essential that property owners budget and book ahead to ensure they secure the best people to carry out renovations. With costs also differing around the UK it is essential that landlords plan their budgets based on how their location will impact the cost of a renovation.


The cities in the UK with the highest populations were collated and the 28 largest were chosen for this research.

To find the cost of flipping a house in each city we looked at the cost per hour and daily rate of ten different essential tradespeople for a renovation. This data was found for the 28 largest UK cities through the website Any gaps in the data were replaced by the average cost for that skilled trade.

To find out which cities could see the highest and lowest number of available tradespeople per city (according to the federation of master builders) was compared to the population of each city (per 100,000).

By using Google Keyword Planner to determine the number of searches made per month, per city for each trade we were then able to determine the level of demand. This then allowed for a comparison of the availability of each of the trades per city with demand.


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