Reno rush turns expected COVID slump to bump
No holidays and extra time at home has turned Australia into a nation of renovators.
The Housing Industry Association has predicted we will hammer out a whopping $38.5bn in home improvements this financial year, up almost $2bn on the previous 12 months.
It reverses fears we would see a short-term slump, with HIA chief economist Tim Reardon now forecasting a COVID-19 "bump" after the "quite remarkable" figures emerged.
"We are seeing very strong activity in small scale and large scale renovations," Mr Reardon said.
And he's not expecting the tools to go down any time soon, estimating more than $37bn will be spent on home renovations in the 2021-2022 financial year.
Victorians will be the nation's second biggest spenders throughout, and by June 30 next year are expected to have shelled out $10bn in the space of 12 months.
Only NSW is expected to pump more cash into their homes.
The association has also used Australian Bureau of Statistics figures to calculate that the nation's do-it-yourselfers and small-scale professional renovators spent $14.4bn at hardware, building and garden supply retailers from March to September. That figure is up almost $3bn, about 25.7 per cent, on the same period a year prior.
While Canberrans were the most likely to pick up the tools with a 39.1 per cent lift, in dollar-terms Victorian home handypeople punched well above their weight, spending $4.098bn in the seven months this year - $700m (23.6 per cent) more than they did in 2019.
HIA Victorian executive director Fiona Nield said the last major wave of renovations in Victoria had been in the '90s and after the global financial crisis in 2008.
With most renovations targeted at homes last updated 15-25 years prior, the state was due for a makeover.
"For the renovations sector it will go someway to hopefully recover some of the lost income in that second lockdown," Ms Nield said.
Separate research from Westpac shows 30 per cent of Victorians are planning a reno in the next five years, with 67 per cent saying they had been influenced by COVID-19. Renovation TV shows like The Block were also a key motivator.
The bank is estimating we'll spend an average $80,000 on updates, with the stage four lockdown making us the state most likely to be considering adding a home office, but also keen to improve our outdoor spaces, kitchens and bathrooms.
Westpac managing director of mortgages Anthony Hughes said while the arrival of restrictions had been responsible for "sparking new ideas" on how spaces could be used, it was the shift in work-from-home arrangements and family needs that would sustain them longer term.
Meg and Simon Talbot had been planning to take kids Laura, 14, and James, 12, to a wedding in Europe this year, but repurposed their travel funds for a bathroom update when Australia went into lockdown in March.
"We were all excited about the trip, but that all obviously went down the toilet," Ms Talbot said.
The family, and their dogs Douglas and Brian, have just begun the renovation via The Inside Project after being forced to check tile samples delivered by mail when showrooms were closed in Melbourne's second lockdown.
"The idea of moving forward in a year when choices were taken out of your hands, it just seems to make sense," Ms Talbot said.
Hipages chief customer officer Stuart Tucker said job volumes for tradies took a hit in March as the pandemic arrived in Australia, but rebounded to normal levels in May - with greater demand for CCTV, alarm systems and security doors.
"Adding to that, there was a spike in cleaning and rubbish removal categories, with Aussies looking to clean up around the home," Mr Tucker said.
Victorian numbers also declined in August, but are expected to rise with a focus on outdoor spaces.
Originally published as Reno rush turns expected COVID slump to bump