The reasons why homeowners want to renovate their Adelaide homes, and what they expect from their renovations, is something that is naturally of great interest to us!
Although there are no definitive answers, our long experience as Adelaide home renovation builders, combined with some recent research into the home renovation industry across Australia, goes some way to revealing the answers as to why so many homeowners are opting to improve rather than move, and which parts of the home are most likely to be the target of a makeover.
The short answer to this is, a lot of people. In 2016, more than 60% of Australian homeowners undertook some form of home renovation, and this growing trend shows no signs of abating — it’s estimated that the amount spent nationwide on home renovations will reach $33.2 billion annually by 2018-19.
Interestingly, 26% of the homeowners who undertook renovations in 2016 had been in their home less than twelve months, compared to 14% who had lived in their property for more than five years. This indicates something that we have also found at Builders At Your Service, namely that one of the primary motivations for undertaking a home renovation is in order to make a newly-purchased property ‘your own’, and this reflects many new homeowners’ desire to personalise their living spaces in a way that suits and reflects their family and lifestyle, and allows them to express their own taste as opposed to that of the previous owner.
There is some further interesting research data that also confirms our experience as specialist renovations builders in Adelaide’s northern suburbs. For instance, 21% of home renovations nationally are carried out on properties built between 1961-1980, while on houses constructed between 1981-2000, that figure rose to 27%.
For areas in the north of Adelaide, particularly Elizabeth and Salisbury and the surrounding suburbs, the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s were boom building periods, with the vast majority of the properties in these areas being constructed during these years. As those homes, however, are seldom still in the possession of the original owners, and are often bought today by young families making their way on the housing ladder, renovation is undertaken by the new owners to update these properties (particularly the bathrooms and kitchens, as these are the living spaces that seem to show their age most quickly and dramatically), and to add the personal, individual touch.
The recent research, plus our own experience, reveals that there a number of reasons behind the growing desire to renovate rather than uproot — apart from the enormous popularity of the seemingly never-ending stream of home renovation shows that dominate the TV schedules!
Firstly, despite wanting to give their house a facelift, a lot of people are simply very attached to their current home or block of land, and have no desire to go elsewhere. Allied to this, another frequent driving force behind the choice to renovate was shown to be a desire to stay in the same neighbourhood, with 33% of Australians citing this as the reason why they are undertaking home improvements rather than moving.
We have also found this to be the case with many of our clients for whom we have undertaken home renovations in Adelaide. Whether it’s the convenience of getting to work, the proximity of kids’ schools, the cachet attached to your address, or simply that people have built up a network of friends and neighbours that they don’t want to leave, families form very strong bonds with the Adelaide suburbs in which they live, and want to maintain these, even if their circumstances are now such that their house as it currently stands isn’t meeting all of their lifestyle needs. In this case, a home renovation or extension gives them the best of both worlds, a mixture of the familiar and the new.
A desire to combine both history and contemporary comforts is also the reason why homeowners with period or heritage homes often want to renovate as well. While a late 19th- or early 20th-century cottage, like you find in some parts of Salisbury and further north in Gawler, may be beautifully proportioned and solidly constructed, few people today are really that keen on century-old ablutions or cooking facilities. However, a sensitive and well-designed renovation of these essential spaces can mean that you retain your modern comforts without detracting from the overall integrity and period feel of the house.
Another driver that came out of the research was that for many homeowners, the relative costs involved in renovating their existing property were substantially lower than the costs (and hassles!) associated with buying another property and then moving (stamp duty is a particular barrier for many when it comes to considering a move, especially in high-demand residential suburbs). In many cases, it simply makes more economic sense for homeowners to undertake a home renovation, or to add an extension, rather than sell.
Of course, for many homeowners, the decision to renovate may be a purely practical one, as your home’s structural integrity may have deteriorated due to age or the effects of sea air, or suffered damage as a result of termites or other pests. Recent research suggested that these or similar reasons were the motivating factor behind about 15% of home renovations across Australia, and this would seem to correspond with our experience as well.
Apparently, not as much as we are led to believe by TV and advertising. According to research carried out by Houzz, 89% of homeowners who undertake renovations call on the assistance of a professional to get the job done. And it tends to be specialist home renovation builders (like us!) who are most commonly used, with 21% of renovation work undertaken by builders, followed by kitchen designers and interior designers.
The reasons why people prefer a professional to DIY, as revealed by the research, is the quality of the result, the ability to complete the job according to the budget, and the expertise of qualified builders to find and use the right products and materials to suit the specific needs of the work.
As we have been in the Adelaide home extension building business for so long, and worked on so many projects, the results of the research as to which areas of the house are most frequently renovated came as no surprise to us, with the top five being kitchen, living/family room, bedroom, bathroom and laundry room.
With kitchens, bathrooms and laundries, the desire to renovate these is more often than not driven by a pressing need to modernise, in terms of the decor, layout, and appliances — or often all three. A kitchen can show its age very quickly, due to the fact that it gets a lot of heavy-duty use, while those designed and built in earlier times very often don’t have a layout suited to a modern lifestyle, nor the room to accommodate the greater number of appliances that we have all become used to. Interestingly, as well as being the room that is most commonly updated, we have also found that the kitchen is also the first room that new owners want to renovate, and that personalisation of this central living space, so that it accommodates how you and your family live, is almost always the first priority.
However, bathrooms aren’t far behind. Again, they can also age very quickly, especially with regard to colour schemes (some 1970s bathrooms were truly awful!), and as they come in for a lot of use and abuse, they can look very tired in no time at all. Also, lifestyles have changed and, while the old-fashioned stand-alone bath is making a comeback, there has been a big shift in bathroom design towards a much more contemporary, sleeker look, incorporating bigger and better showers, stand-alone sinks (as opposed to the old vanity unit) and a generally less cluttered feel. For this reason, our experience absolutely corresponds with the research that says a major renovation priority in Adelaide homes is almost always the bathroom.
Whatever your motivation for renovating — a desire to stay in your current neighbourhood, the cost of moving, or you have bought a house and you want to turn it into your own home — we can advise and guide you every step of the way. With our extensive experience and knowledge of the Adelaide housing industry, we can plan and build a home renovation that meets your family’s needs precisely.
Call Gavan at Builders At Your Service on (08) 8281 6010, or email us to find out more.