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Renovation nation: 52% of homeowners plan to spruce up their digs next year

Reviewed by expert, Andrew Winter
4 min read
30 Jan 2024

Rising costs have not deterred more than half of Australian homeowners planning renovations and home improvements, with new Compare the Market research showing small, low-budget upgrades remain popular.*

More than half of Australian homeowners are planning to revamp their property within the next 12 months, according to a recent Compare the Market survey.

A third of homeowners will pick up their paintbrushes to give the inside of their properties a new lick of paint, while 19% will endure the outside.

Bigger projects were also on the cards for some households, with almost 8% changing their floorplan, 7% adding new rooms, 10% changing a room’s functionality and 3% adding an extra level.

Compare the Market’s property expert Andrew Winter said the Great Australian Renovation Movement had been fuelled by an equity gold rush.

“The median house and unit value in Australia has increased 72% in the past decade – that’s a significant lift in value,” Mr Winter said.

“So, despite eye-watering inflation and exorbitant costs, many Aussies still have equity to unlock when they refinance.

“Unless you bought during the pandemic peak, you may find you’re sitting on a gold mine.”

 

Percentage change in dwelling values from 2012-2022. Sourced from Corelogic’s housing values.

But before starting any grand plans, Mr Winter urged borrowers to do some research and speak to their lender to avoid overcapitalising.

“If you’re flipping the property to sell in the near future it’s important to make sure renovations do add value,” Mr Winter said.

“A lot of people will try tackling a room, like a kitchen or a bathroom, which can be risky if your choices don’t appeal to everyone’s tastes.

“Most buyers are happy to overlook a dated kitchen. In my experience, people are much more likely to balk at a terrible floor plan, because it’s harder to visualise changes.

“It’s also really important to understand the current value of your property, and check recent sales in your suburb, to make sure that you’re not overcapitalising on changes.

“Around a third of Australian homeowners haven’t checked their property value in the past year. If that’s you, getting a free property report could be a great place to start before comparing rates to refinance.”

Mr Winter’s top tips for aspiring renovators:

Set a budget (and stick to it)

It’s important to consider the cost of labour and building supplies. While some materials like steel have dropped in price, cement and plaster are still on the rise due to increased energy and freighting costs. Be realistic with your budget and plan for unexpected costs. Once you’ve made a plan and a budget, try to stick to it.

Look for ways to save

Are you willing to pick up the paintbrush and paint yourself? Can you ask a friend or family member to help? Depending on how handy you are, you may be able to reduce labour costs by doing the reno yourself.

Have a daily site visit

It’s particularly important to check on the progress of the renovations to make sure everything is going to plan. Issues are much more difficult and costly to fix if you don’t get to them before the job is finished.

Expect the unexpected

Having a contingency plan is like having an ace up your sleeve. Accounting for some delays and issues will save you stress if and when they arise. Keep an open mind to alternatives. For example, if you want to knock out a kitchen wall, and find there’s a support beam – would you be happy with a serving hatch or kitchen window?

Never forget council approvals

The devil is in the detail. Never forget council approvals – as all those hidden extras can cost a lot of money. And, if you’re planning a major change – like adding a granny flat – failing to do so could land you in hot water!

To refinance or to obtain a free property report, homeowners can head to Compare the Market’s website.

*Survey of 1,005 Australian homeowners, conducted in September 2023.

For more information, please contact:  

Natasha Innes | 0416 705 514 | natasha.innes@comparethemarket.com.au

Compare the Market is a comparison service that takes the hard work out of shopping around. We make it Simples for Australians to quickly and easily compare and buy insurance, energy, and home loans products from a range of providers. Our easy-to-use comparison tool helps you look for a range of products that may suit your needs and benefit your back pocket.

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