Report illuminates Aussies' renovation behaviour

by Madison Utley12 Aug 2020

A survey of over 4,500 respondents has helped illuminate Aussies’ approach to home renovations – both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study from Houzz & Home Australia revealed nearly half of homeowners across the country reported working on a project in 2019; the construction involved three interior rooms on average and resulted in a median spend of $20,000. 

Baby Boomers, those aged between 55 and 74, accounted for nearly half of the activity in 2019, while Gen Xers were responsible for 39% and Millennials just 14%.

“Following significant growth in home renovation activity over the past few years, we’re seeing the market settle somewhat in terms of activity,” said Marine Sargsyan, Houzz senior economist.

“That said, project scope and spend have remained stable and we’re seeing Baby Boomers continue to bring consistency to the market as they pursue projects that will allow them to age in place.”

The survey was fielded between February and March 2020, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, planned activity for the year ahead remained in line with the level evidenced in 2019, with 48% of homeowners planning to continue or start a project. 

“Subsequent surveys have shown that four in five homeowners who were in the midst of a project at the start of the pandemic were able to continue with renovations,” explained Sargsyan.

“That said, some homeowners have opted to delay certain elective renovations due to implications related to social contact, labour and material availability and personal discretionary spending.”

"Deferred maintenance will accrue during this period, setting the stage for a renewed burst of activity following the pandemic."

The survey also revealed that preparing for a project typically took homeowners longer than the actual renovating, with construction lasting between 2.4 and 5.7 months on average and the planning taking double that.

Even before the working from home wave, home offices were added or upgraded by more than one in ten homeowners in 2019, with Millennials driving the push.

Notably, savings was the most common form of renovation payment (80%), with the next most common source cited being credit cards (20%).