Lockdown sparks renovation surge

If you used lockdown to fix little things around the home, you are not alone, with a new survey finding almost two in every five homeowners used coronavirus isolation to get stuck into renovations.

A new survey found that almost two in every five homeowners used the coronavirus lockdown to renovate their homes or investments, with isolation forcing most into becoming DIY specialists.

The Canstar survey conducted in mid July found that despite widespread job losses and uncertainty impacting livelihoods this year, 38 per cent of Aussies put money into making their properties more comfortable for themselves or more attractive for renters or buyers.

Canstar financial services executive Steve Mickenbecker said the results were “a good sign for the economy” because “it says ‘we’re thinking about the future’.”

“It’s surprising that 38 per cent of households have actually done renos but when you think about how busy places like Bunnings have been through all shutdown periods and since COVID-19 came to Australia, it shouldn’t be any surprise to be honest.”

“People have more time on their hands, there’s no commuting, everyone’s sitting around the house saying that’s still broken, that still needs painting … If you can’t go out and be entertained, better yourself at home with a project.”

He said the renovations “improved people’s lifestyles more than property values, but it’s amazing what a lick of paint can do”.

“The average spend on a renovation during the pandemic was $4,979, while the maximum reached as high as $45,000,” Mr Mickenbecker said.

While half paid for the renovations out of savings, one in five put the cost straight onto their credit card, which Mr Mickenbecker said was “a bit of a worry”.

“It’s not a problem if they repay it over a few months. We compared repaying over six months, it’s not the end of the earth.”

He said a non-rewards card average interest charge of 13.45 per cent ended up costing the same ($239 interest charge) as topping up your home loan to do the renovation (about $295 fee).

“Irrespective of what you use in terms of finance for these smaller things you really want to knock it off as fast as you can so it doesn’t end up being a millstone for three or four years.”

Brisbane couple Grace and Sanath Hettiarachchi were ready to begin their renovation of 34 Priors Pocket Rd, Moggill, when the pandemic hit.

“We purchased this property in January this year with the hope of settling down however given the current pandemic, our plans have been delayed, and given the success of our previous property in Oxley, we thought we would try our hand at renovating and selling the property furnished,” Mr Hettiarachchi said.

They did most of the work themselves and hired tradies for specialist jobs.

“We lived in it from January and would work on it tirelessly before and after work and on the weekend. We finished in around June this year.”

“The house has been renovated mostly inside. It has high ceilings and custom windows to allow the natural light and has beautiful herringbone style recycled wood flooring throughout. All bedrooms got airconditioning and fans, and the kitchen and laundry have had a makeover, adding new high-end appliances with more storage.”

The pandemic had changed their approach to life, he said. “We believe the current pandemic has really made some of us realise what matters the most, and that is, being able to be with our loved ones.””With some employers now adapting to this change, living near to the city won’t be as much of a priority as there will be adequate work-from-home options.”



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