Baby Boomers drove home renovations prior to HomeBuilder and COVID-19

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on August 11, 2020
Baby Boomers drove home renovations prior to HomeBuilder and COVID-19

Photo by Nolan Issac on Unsplash

A new survey has revealed baby boomers accounted for nearly half of renovating homeowners in 2019.

The annual Houzz & Home survey of more than 4,500 households found Gen Xers and Millennials followed boomers in renovation activity, making up 39% and 14% of home renovators respectively.

The survey found the median spend for home renovations stabilised at $20,000 in 2019, while at the higher end of the market, 10% of homeowners spent $150,000 or more on their renovations. 

Almost half of respondents reported a renovating project last year, tackling nearly three interior rooms on average. 

Conducted in early 2020, planned activity for this year remains consistent with last year, with the impact of COVID-19 and the government's HomeBuilder scheme yet to be seen. 

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Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of June 25, 2022. View disclaimer.

Marine Sargsyan, Houzz senior economist, said renovation spend and activity had stabilised, with boomers continuing to drive much of the growth in the area.

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

“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.”

Gen Xers reported the highest median renovation spend at $20,000, followed closely by Baby Boomers at $18,500. 

Kitchens had the highest median spend at $15,000, down on previous years, followed by master bedrooms ($13,000) and guest bathrooms ($10,000), both up on previous years. 

COVID impact on home improvement

The survey was fielded prior to the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic in February and March of this year, and at that time nearly half of homeowners surveyed planned to continue or start renovations this year. 

But Ms Sargsyan said the majority of homeowners had been able to go ahead with plans, and those holding off meant there would be an influx of work in the future. 

“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," she said.

"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."

Planning takes time 

Preparing for a renovation in 2019 on average took longer than the renovation itself.

While construction took between two and six months on average for different types of projects, the planning phase took roughly twice as long.

Kitchens required almost a year of planning, while bathrooms took around nine months, and kitchens and living rooms continued to be the most popular rooms to renovate.

One in ten homeowners added or upgraded a home office in 2019, a number which is likely to rise this year given the shift to working from home. 

[Read: How much a home office costs to build


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The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered. Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site. Savings.com.au, yourmortgage.com.au, yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au, and Performance Drive are part of the Savings Media group. In the interests of full disclosure, the Savings Media Group are associated with the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings Media Group manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please visit the web site links at the bottom of this page.

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Alex joined Savings.com.au as a finance journalist in 2019. He enjoys covering in-depth economical releases and breaking down how they might affect the everyday punter. He is passionate about providing Australians with the information and tools needed to make them financially stable for their futures.

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