Renovation boom continues amid coronavirus fallout

While a number of people moved home last year to find bigger spaces, or opted for tree and sea changes, the vast majority preferred to stay put and work out how they could make better use of what they had.

More time spent working and learning from home this year has people wanting more space.

More time spent working and learning from home this year has people wanting more space. Credits: iStock

The costs of moving home, plus stamp duty and agents’ fees, made many decide that money could be put to better use with renovations, says Belinda Botzolis, senior property strategist at Metropole Property Strategists.

Then there were the grants that many states offered owners during the pandemic.

“We’ve just had the biggest year for renovations ever, but it will still continue into the future,” he said. “It’s been so hard to get tradies to finish jobs, so there’ll be a lot of demand for them into 2022 too.

“Lockdowns often slowed the momentum down but they did make us realize how small our homes were, and how we really needed offices rather than study nooks, and wanted kitchens with more space, and indoor-outdoor entertaining. Instagram helped, with all the images of homes we wished we had. And since we’ll still be going nowhere in 2022, we’ll still be renovating.”

A new kitchen is still at the top of most renovators' lists

A new kitchen is still at the top of most renovators’ listsCredits: istock

Kitchens and bathrooms and a change of flooring are still at the top of most renovators’ lists, but those lists are growing all the time, according to renovations expert Werine Erasmus of The Happy Renovator.

“After those, people are looking to create home offices or spaces to work or study from any spare space within the home,” she said. “Everyone wants a place to be quiet and work now, and the trend for renovations is going to go on and on.

“Then, if there’s any cash left over, they want to build a deck and add lighting and smart features like custom garage doors. But we find those are always secondary to the kitchens and bathrooms and flooring.”

With the return of first-home buyers to the property market, many of them are now also joining the renovation obsession, albeit at a lower value level, Ms Erasmus believes. Many of those may have over committed on large mortgages so don’t have much cash left to splash.

“So [they] are still doing renovations, but all DIY,” she said. “They’re going for the real budget options, but there’s still a lot they can achieve. For example, instead of changing the flooring on a concrete patio, the other day I put down a stencil. It costs $30 and it looks amazing!”


Older people are now also entering the fray, Mr Georgiev believes. With all the publicity about COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care homes, and the revelations of poor conditions, he has seen a lot of them now renovating their houses and apartments in order to make them more suitable for staying in longer.

“They’re thinking, ‘Bugger this, I’m not going into one of those hell holes’,” said Mr Georgiev. “So they decide instead to cobble together changes in their own homes, like a better fit-out, so they can continue to live there. We’ll be seeing a lot of that into the future, too.”