Poles apart – polish tradesmen fix a quarter of a million london homes in last 12 months

Over a quarter of a million Londoners have benefited from the influx of Polish professionals into the home improvement trade, research from MoneyExpert.com* shows.

According to the independent financial comparison website, around 3.2 million Londoners had work carried out on their properties this year, with around one in fourteen ñ or 227,790 people ñ saying they employed Poles to carry out the work.

Londonís property owners spent on average £1,840.90 each on employing tradespeople to work on their home over the past 12 months ñ the highest expenditure per person in Britain and over £300 more than the national average.

And MoneyExpert.com says that Londonís homeowners are big spenders ñ around one in ten forked out over £5,000 on alterations and renovations to their homes. Some three per cent (around 165,400 people) went over the £15,000 mark when doing the work.

Research commissioned by MoneyExpert.com has revealed that Poles are Londonís second most popular tradespeople after Brits, although some 38 per cent of the capitalís homeowners did not know the nationality of the professionals they employed when asked.

Sean Gardner, Chief Executive of MoneyExpert.com, said: ìPolish builders are already building a strong reputation in the capital for producing excellent work. Itís certainly increased competition, which can only benefit consumers.

ìLondoners are the nationís big spenders, and many will turn to personal loans to finance major changes to their homes. But when people consider borrowing more than £10,000, they need to ensure they get good value for money. ì

On a loan of £10,000 over four years, you could end up paying back as much as a quarter of your entire loan in extra repayments unless you research the market carefully.

MoneyExpert.com analysis** shows that the average APR on personal loans of £10,000 is around 7.39 per cent, with the lowest rate currently offered by Moneyback Bank at 5.6 per cent.

However some 31 per cent of personal loans charge more than 7.5 per cent, with nine products breaking the 8 per cent barrier. Lenders offering competitive rates on loans of £10,000 include: Moneyback Bank (5.6 per cent), Masterloan (5.7 per cent), Abbey (5.8 per cent) and Northern Rock (5.9 per cent)***.

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*YouGov interviewed 2,745 GB adults (18+) between 9th and 14th November 2006 ** MoneyExpert.com analysis of Defaqtoís Aequos Database 21.11.06 ***

Product details:

Moneyback Bank personal loan: 5.6% APR typical is rate for online Moneyback Bank loan applications for new and existing customers. Past credit history and other personal details will be reviewed and the actual rate offered may be higher depending on circumstances.

Masterloan: 5.7% APR typical. Masterloan is brought to you by Barclaycard. To apply, you must be 18 or over and a UK resident. Rates may vary according to a combination of factors which are considered to set a personal loan rate for you including past credit repayment history, your past account history and other personal details.

Abbeyís Abbeyloan (internet): 5.8% APR typical on all internet loans from £1,000 to £25,000. To apply for this loan you need to be a UK resident aged over 18. You’ll also need to have a regular income and show that you’ve managed your finances without any problems in the past.

Northern Rock unsecured personal loan: low rate 5.9%. Borrow any amount from £1,000 to £25,000; spread your repayments over one to ten years. Interest rate on unsecured loan is fixed. With express service option the loan can be in a bank account ready to use the same day the company receives the fully completed documents.

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