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Rise of the renos as more Aussies refresh their space

The value of residential alterations and additions has risen to the highest level in more than four years, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The ABS Building Approvals for August found that the value of alterations and additions to residential buildings was strong in August, up seven per cent to $784 million – the highest level recorded since April 2016.

The ABS noted that the value of total residential building also rose in August (4.4 per cent), partly driven by an increase in the value of residential alterations and additions.

The stellar result is likely in part due to the HomeBuilder scheme, as well as an increase in the number of people undertaking renovations during the lockdown, according to a New South Wales renovation expert.

The Happy Renovator author, Werine Erasmus, said many Australians were choosing to use the downtime to start or finish renovation projects on their homes or investment properties.

“The problem with many renovators who attempt to complete projects in their spare time is that they often don’t have any time to spare,” she said.

“However, the lockdown created the ideal conditions for many people to restart or finish their renovation projects.”

Ms Erasmus believes renovations will continue to grow in popularity in the months ahead, as more people work from home or perhaps move to part-time employment. However, she said renovating property was something that could be a steep and expensive learning curve if people didn’t understand all of the necessary ins and outs.

“While I advocate a part-time work and part-time renovation strategy, it’s vital that you don’t attempt a renovation or upgrade without educating yourself about what’s really involved,” she said.

“The reason why we see so many half-finished renovation projects come up for sale is that people spend too much and run out of money or they make costly mistakes they can’t afford to fix.

“Renovation projects are nothing like what you see on reality television, but by educating yourself on the process, there is no reason why anyone can’t complete a renovation that achieves their goals – and makes them happy most of all.”

New Suncorp Bank lending data released last month revealed homeowners looking to renovate are loaning on average $63,188 to improve their home.

The amount varied from state to state, with Victoria at the top with an average renovation cost of $71,067, while Perth sits pretty at the bottom with an average of $54,377.

“Many customers are keen to improve the look and feel of their home but don’t know where to start,” Suncorp Executive General Manager Consumer Lending Bruce Rush said.

“The best way to keep a renovation on track and on budget is to do as much research as you can before getting started. Talking to your bank or broker is a good place to start to ensure you get the right finance for your renovation project.

“The cost to renovate can vary slightly depending on the location you live in and subsequent cost of trades, as well as the quality of fixtures or materials used.”

The research revealed the average kitchen renovation costs $20,750, with a bathroom setting you back $16,250 and a double carport renovation costing on average $32,450.

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