£4 billion home improvement loans in 2008

Last year saw the term credit crunch knocked back and forth more than a tennis ball at Wimbledon but recent figures from Sainsburys Bank have suggested that lending increased in at least one market.

An estimated 425,000 loans were approved for home improvements last year with a total value of over £4 billion as Brits built conservatories, loft conversions and new kitchens to add value and style to their homes.

Sainsburys head of loans Stephen Baillie explained that the increase was unsurprising in spite of the credit crunch.

"It is well-documented that the housing market struggled last year, and our figures might suggest that people have decided to stay put and make the most of their existing homes," he said.

"It may also suggest however that theyre trying to add value to their current homes in order to get a better price for them when the property market recovers."

The figures represent a 53 per cent rise in the number of loans compared to 2007.

The average house price in Scotland has fallen to just £153,623, according to Registers of Scotland.