Home renovation activity and spend have reached the highest rates reported since 2019, according to the annual Houzz & Home survey of more than 2,200 Australians. Nearly half of homeowners renovated their homes in 2021 (48%), up from 44% in 2020. Homeowners recorded a significant 43% jump in median renovation spend at $30,000 up from $21,000 in 2020. This growth can be attributed to homeowners with higher budget projects (the top 10% of spend) increasing their investment from $150,000 in 2020 to $230,000 in 2021.
Home renovation activity continues into this year, with nearly half of homeowners planning to renovate (49%) and nearly two-fifths planning to decorate (39%). For the first time since 2019, homeowners’ planned spend has increased to $25,000 for 2022 versus $15,000; a 67% jump. Homeowners with higher-budget renovations are planning to spend $138,000 on projects in 2022.
“Homeowners are clearly committed to investing in their homes despite heightened product and material costs driven by supply chain disruptions, and are exploring diverse funding sources. This is especially pronounced among recent homebuyers, who rely heavily on cash from previous home sales to fund their projects and spend significantly more than the national median,” said Tony Been, managing director of Houzz Australia.
Recent homebuyers (those who have not yet moved into their home or moved in less than a year ago), who accounted for 10 percent of renovating homeowners in 2021, spent more than the national median ($40,000), surpassing short-term (1 – 5 years ago) and long-term (6+ years ago) homeowners ($35,000 and $25,000, respectively). Recent homebuyers with higher budget projects (the top 10 percent of spend) invested $250,000 compared to $240,000 invested by short-term homeowners and $200,000 for long-term homeowners. This is likely attributed to the larger scope projects they undertake, averaging three to four rooms, as well as home systems, such as electrical and plumbing.
Cash from savings remains the most significant source for funding renovation projects (82 percent), however, homeowners financing renovation projects with credit cards gained four percentage points (17 percent). Savings and credit cards hold their ground as the leading forms of payment regardless of homeownership tenure. Recent homebuyers and short-term homeowners were more likely to rely on cash from previous home sales (47 and 22 percent, respectively), whereas long term homeowners had more access to cash through refinancing in 2021 (11 percent).
Homeowners sought help from professionals for their renovations in 2021 (94%) more often than in the year prior. They relied most heavily on the expertise of specialty service providers such as electricians (68%) and plumbers (54%) for their projects. That said, builders and architects were the most hired professionals in construction and design-related services, and saw a significant jump in 2021 compared with 2020 (19% and six percent, respectively). With recent homebuyers tackling more projects than their peers, it’s no surprise that the majority were most likely to hire professional help.
Investments in interior rooms remained the priority for seven in 10 renovating homeowners in 2021 (70%). Kitchens are both the most popular room to be upgraded and the room that commanded the highest spend at $20,000. Rooms that saw the most dramatic increase in popularity from the previous year included guest bedrooms (24%), guest bathrooms (23%), an entry or mudroom (17%) and wardrobes (16%).
There has been an increase in home security upgrades too. In fact, outdoor security cameras (17%) were the second most frequently purchased upgrade behind outdoor lighting (29%).
The annual Houzz & Home survey is the largest survey of residential renovation, building and decorating activity published. It covers a wide range of renovation projects in 2021, from interior remodels and additions to home systems, exterior upgrades and outdoor projects. Data gathered includes historical and planned spends, professional involvement, motivations and challenges behind building, renovation and decorating projects, as well as planned activities for 2022. The 2022 study, sent to registered users of Houzz and fielded March through April 2022, includes more than 2,200 respondents in Australia.