The annual Aussie Houzz and Home renovation report revealed Australian’s home renovation spend has grown 5% in the last year to a median $21,000 – up from $20,000 in 2019.
Higher budget projects (with the top 10% of project spend) reached $150,000 or more in 2020. The report points to the busy renovation market continuing through 2021, with 48% of homeowners planning to renovate this year. Two in five (41%) renovating homeowners also plan to decorate or furnish their homes in 2021.
Which rooms are likely to see home renovations?
Kitchens are unsurprisingly once again garnering renovation budgets, and major renovations are the norm. More than half reported changing the layout of the kitchen (54%) and two in five homeowners upgraded plumbing, electrical or HVAC systems (40%). One third of homeowners reframed, moved or added walls, and two in five increased the size of the kitchen during renovations (33% and 43%, respectively).
The median spend on kitchen renovations was $20,000 in 2020 – up 33% from $15,000 in 2019, closely followed by primary bathroom spend which increased 15% at $15,000 in 2020 up from $13, 000 in 2019. Other bathrooms dropped 20% from $10,000 in 2019 compared to $8,000 in 2020.
There was little shift in living room spend, which accounted for 20% of home renovations compared to 23% in 2018. The most popular trade booked in to assist with home renovations in 2021 were electricians at 66%. This was trailed by plumbers (48%), carpenters (35%) and painters (34%.)
The pandemic continues to change what we value in our homes
Another area of focus since the pandemic saw Aussies spending more time at home is the outdoors; nearly three in five homeowners reported doing some work on them (59%). Improvements to outdoor spaces were directed towards the grounds, with beds or borders showing a significant 7% increase among renovating homeowners in 2020.
In terms of what we are doing interiors wise, 30% of efforts went to electrical work, followed by plumbing (28%) and cooling (22%). Exterior painting (27%), windows or skylights (20%) and gutters, drains or pipework (20%) where popular places to direct our dollars outdoors, and in the gardens, we chose to spend on beds and borders (34%), planters or planter boxes (25%) and the lawn (20%.)
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Cash savings stay the most popular way to pay for home renovations
Cash savings were the most popular source of funding at a whopping 81% (this was steady across the age groups, with 80% of those aged 25-59 using cash savings and 81% of those aged 60 or over funding home renovations this way.
Credit cards were used by 13% on average – though 21% of 25-39 year old’s compared to 12% of other age groups, cash from a previous house sale 12% (4% of 25-39 year old’s compared to 10 and 14% of 40-59 year old’s and over 60s respectively), cash from a mortgage or at 10% (15% of 25 to 39 year old’s, 19% of 40-59 year old’s and 5% of those aged 60 or over). Gifts funded 6% of home renovations across all age groups.
Why we are renovating now?
A large proportion (41%) of renovators nominated having wanted to do it all along and finally having the time as the reason they have chosen to renovate now, a slight increase from 39% in 2019 and 37% in 2018. Age does not appear to be a factor – 37% of 25-39 years nominating this reason and 37% and 35% of 40 – 59-year old’s and 60 years or over respectively.
Wanting to do it along and finally having the financial means was almost as common at 35% in 2020, up from 33 and 34% in 2019 and 2018. However, age was a factor – 61% of 25-39 years old’s nominated this reason, with only 36 and 42% nominating it.
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This information is a guide only and is an estimate only based on the past 12 months of aggregated online mortgage enquiries from eChoice and partner programs.
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It’s not all smooth saving
Finding the right service providers was the most common challenged faced with 30% of those surveyed nominating it. Closely following was finding the right products and materials at 27% and visualising the end result before work began at 24%. Only 20% struggled with staying on budget and 19% struggled with defining their style. 8% had no challenges during the home renovation process. It is worth noting multiple responses (up to three) were allowed.
This year’s online quantitative survey draws on responses from the highly engaged Houzz readership; the site being dubbed a one stop shop for homeowners working on a home renovation or decorating project. Their annual survey provideS insights on the latest market trends based on users’ home improvement activity. This year’s survey included responses from 2,471 Australian respondents. You can read the full report here.
Words by Melanie Hearse