Now in its fourth year, our Reno Reports are designed to gauge Canadian homeowner behaviours and sentiments towards renovations, spending, trends, and more. This year, similar to our 2021 report, we surveyed Canadian homeowners who had completed home renovations in the past year to better understand how behaviours and attitudes have shifted as many national and regional pandemic restrictions have eased in the last year.
After a tumultuous year for Canadian homeowners who were impacted by the continuation of a global pandemic, a record-breaking hot national real estate market, inflation, and economic uncertainty, our newest survey revealed that now, more than ever, Canadian homeowners, on average, have been investing more of their cash on hand into home renovations – a trend that is still expected to increase over the next 12 months despite economic concerns.
We saw that the largest investments were made inside homes; on average, homeowners who completed renovations in the past 12 months spent about $13,000, with outdoor renovations following at about half the spend, with an average of $6,600 to enhance outdoor living.
When it came to funding their renovation projects, 80 per cent of homeowners surveyed reported paying for their projects with cash on hand or savings for the second year in a row.
Even with more cash on hand, the rising cost of building materials encouraged some homeowners to postpone planned renovations – 41 per cent chose to pause their plans. However, when asked about their renovation plans for the next 12 months, 75 per cent of homeowners indicated they plan to go ahead with renovations.
Since this survey was conducted in March, inflation continued to rise, interest rate hikes were introduced by the Government of Canada, and housing prices held or even began to decline in some parts of the country. Due to these changes, we contacted 985 Canadian HomeStars clients in June to get a pulse check on whether or not the current market showed a different result from our original survey. Despite the noted volatilities, we were surprised that 53.6 per cent of Canadians surveyed still planned to move forward with home renovations.
Nationally, homeowners who plan to upgrade their spaces in the coming year said they’ll be spending an average of $25,222, nearly double what they spent on average over the past 12 months.
Read on for more fascinating details on how much was spent, top projects, regional differences, fantasy renovations, and looking ahead to the next 12 months. Enjoy!
Along with increased spending, most homeowners intend to stay put and reinvest in their homes rather than sell and buy, although the proportion who are considering a move actually increased from 2021 to 2022. Three-in-four (76 per cent) of those surveyed reported that they are not considering moving in the next 12 months, a drop compared to 2021, where 91 per cent of those surveyed had no plans to move homes throughout the year. With the pandemic easing and fluctuations in the housing market, it’s unsurprising that Canadians want to stay put and reinvest in their homes. In our initial survey, 56 per cent of surveyed homeowners were planning to stay in their current homes and renovate over the next 12 months. According to our pulse check of HomeStars homeowners in June, we found that 84 per cent of homeowners surveyed are planning to stay put.
Regardless of a shift in restrictions across the country, the pandemic continued to influence homeowner behaviour, with 40 per cent of respondents saying the presence of COVID-19 restrictions influenced their decision to renovate, an eight percentage point increase from those surveyed the previous year.
Our survey shows that Canadians have more time and money on their hands and have continued to invest in their homes over the past 12 months despite other economic pressures. It’s evident that Canadians are seeing a return on investment with their home renovations, indicating they plan to spend even more time and money renovating more extensively over the next 12 months. Though we thought current market conditions would ultimately deter Canadians from completing expensive home renovations, we saw a consistent average of more than $25,000 in planned spending for home renovations in the next 12 months.
Interior painting continued to be the most common renovation project undertaken by homeowners, with 43 per cent who completed a home renovation doing so. Exterior landscape design remained at the top of the list again for outdoor projects completed over the past 12 months, with 29 per cent.
When it came to completing renovations, slightly more than half of surveyed homeowners said they attempt to complete some renovations themselves to reduce overall project costs.
Regardless of the size and scope of homeowner renovations over the past 12 months, the sheer volume of renovation projects continued to grow and looks to be riding an upward trend. I welcome you to read on to learn more about homeowner renovation motivations, trends, and influences during this incredibly unique time.
From our home to yours,
CEO of HomeStars
|When we first surveyed Canadian homeowners in the early Spring, 80 per cent of Canadians had cash on hand for home renovation projects. Our follow up pulse survey to HomeStars customers found a slightly lower proportion of Canadian homeowners with cash on hand, as 27 percent of respondents from this survey reported needing help with financing.|
|Two-in-five (40 per cent) surveyed homeowners say the presence of COVID-19 restrictions influenced their decision to renovate in the past year, a significant increase from 2021 (32 per cent).|
|At the same time, more homeowners also report postponing planned renovations this past year due to high building material costs (41 per cent, up from 35 per cent in 2021).|
|Amongst those who have completed outdoor renovations (e.g. landscaping/yard improvement projects) in the last 12 months, the average spend was about $6,600, an increase of nearly $2,000 from last year.|
|The increase in average spending for indoor renovations was even more significant: Canadian homeowners who completed such renovations in the last 12 months spent about $13,000 on average, up from $8,260 last year.|
|There are notable regional differences when it comes to home renovations, both in terms of specific projects undertaken and overall spending levels. Ontarians, for example, have spent roughly twice as much on outdoor projects on average than homeowners in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada.|
|59 per cent of the Canadian homeowners stated the top reason to renovate was to refresh the look and feel of their space.|
|The expected average spend for the next 12 months is nearly twice the amount of 2021, suggesting that many Canadians expect to scale up home renovations in the months ahead. Our June survey of HomeStars customers demonstrated the same trend of doubling spend from the amounts reported in 2021.|
|75 per cent of surveyed homeowners who completed renovations in the past 12 months expect to do so again in the next year.|
Recent shifts in Canada’s economic outlook have led homeowners to turn to home renovations to enable them to stay in their homes longer amid a volatile housing market.
According to a recent Royal LePage survey 1, more Canadians see the value of renovating key areas of their home, such as bathrooms and kitchens, which typically yield 100 per cent or more return on investment. For those who aren’t willing to invest a large amount of money, simply putting fresh paint on the walls can increase the value of a home by 12 per cent.
Not surprisingly, these trends are on par with surveyed homeowners, as Canadians who renovated their homes in the last year spent an average of $13,000 doing so—an increase of nearly $5,000 from the previous year. In fact, 43 per cent of those who renovated painted the inside of their homes, by far the most popular indoor renovation.
Coming in a close third was one of the larger jobs, bathroom renovations, at 21%. Bathroom renovations have continued to explode in popularity since the start of the pandemic with service requests on HomeStars showing a 113% increase from January 1 to July 31, 2019 compared to the same time in 2021. Bathrooms are a relatively quick and easy renovation because they are often smaller square footage and come with a high intrinsic value as a place to relax and enjoy, not to mention great for resale value.
When it comes to spending money on interior renovations, not all Canadians spend alike. Over the past 12 months, Ontarians spent the most, on average at $15,497, while British Columbians followed closely behind, spending an average of $14,919. This is likely due to the high cost of building materials in Ontario and British Columbia, causing homeowners to increase spending for certain home renovations.
Pandemic restrictions continued to influence how and where Canadians spent their renovation dollars over the past 12 months. According to a study conducted by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, 82 per cent of Canadians reported spending time in nature, with 37 per cent saying they are spending more time outdoors as compared to pre-pandemic².
Perhaps as a result, 62 per cent of Canadians who completed renovations in the past year spent more money sprucing up their outdoor space at an average cost of $6,622, with the most popular upgrade coming in the form of enhanced landscape design (29 per cent). On average, the priciest outdoor improvement was installing a hot tub, which cost $9,685 on average. The most affordable outdoor enhancement came in the form of a fire pit, with 10 per cent of respondents spending $465 on average to enjoy a cozy and ambient outdoor space, perhaps extending outdoor comfort into the cooler months.
The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact Canadians’ overall financial well being.3 Significant cuts to discretionary spending allowed Canadians to save about $230 billion since the beginning of the pandemic, said Charles St-Arnaud, chief economist at Alberta Central, the central banking facility for the province’s credit unions.
More cash on hand and more time at home created a healthy environment for financing home renovation projects. Over the past 12 months, 80 per cent of homeowners who completed renovations did so with cash on hand or savings. British Columbians and Albertans were most likely to pay in cash, at 85 per cent, respectively.
The vast majority of those who did finance their renovations used credit cards or a line of credit. With the forecasted market volatility and the increased cost of borrowing money, we reached back out to Canadian homeowners to get a sense of how they will finance upcoming home renovations. Our HomeStars customer pulse survey in early June demonstrated that the changing landscape may be having an effect on homeowners’ need to finance renovations, with 66 per cent of respondents reporting having cash on hand, 27 per cent reporting they’ll need to finance at least part of their home improvement projects and 7 per cent noting that they’ll need to finance the project in-full.
Homeowners should take time to get educated on the array of financing options available. We see that in the past, they’ve turned to short-term loans and lines of credit. However, those options are becoming increasingly expensive. Homeowners should evaluate options like the HomeStars’ + Perch Refinancing option, where they can lean on their unutilized home equity to fund their reno projects and spread their cost over the mortgage term. This typically offers a significantly lower monthly payment.
Over the past 12 months, Canada has seen the alarming effects of global warming. Whether the majority of Canadians planned on making upgrades to their home over the past 12 months or not, unplanned or emergency repairs impacted 59 per cent of survey respondents. Among the provinces, homeowners in Atlantic Canada were affected by emergencies most often, with nearly 70 per cent of these homeowners making unplanned repairs. Unsurprisingly, with the tropical storm season Atlantic Canada experienced, it’s no surprise higher emergency renovations were needed.
For the second year in a row, the most common emergency repair reported was plumbing issues within homes. The second most common unplanned repairs were made to appliances, followed by HVAC systems and pest control. Pest control issues were four times more likely to occur in Atlantic Canada (16 per cent) than in Alberta and the Prairies (4 per cent each), which reported the lowest incidences.
Advances in technology inside the home continue to hold strong in Canada. The majority of respondents (67 per cent) confirmed they have used at least one smart or internet-based technology product in their home during the past 12 months. However, there was a considerable gap between technology adopters and those still utilizing conventional systems from province to province.
Ontario, Alberta, and Atlantic Canada exceed the national average for smart technology use, with seven-in-ten homeowners using smart technology systems in the past 12 months. The most commonly used smart tech is the thermostat (34 per cent), closely followed by Internet-based home assistants (33 per cent), such as Google and Alexa. An increase of two percentage points from last year puts smart security cameras, and video doorbells in the third spot (26 per cent) as home security tech continues to be on the rise.
When it comes to green products and sustainability, Canadian homeowners tend to agree that sustainability is an important factor when choosing products and materials for their renovations. The majority of homeowners surveyed (78 per cent) reported sustainability as important to them personally when renovating. British Columbians rose to the top spot in the nation, with 83 per cent agreeing that sustainability is important to them. When making upgrades over the past 12 months, Canadians surveyed were most likely to implement green products in the following renovations: energy-efficient appliances (29 per cent), low VOC paint (25 per cent), and energy-efficient furnaces (14 per cent). Of Albertans surveyed, 49 per cent said they have not used any green products in their renovations over the past 12 months, the highest rate in the country.
Canadian homeowners were asked to put reality aside for the second year in a row and consider what their top three fantasy home renovation features would be – if money and space were not an issue. Two of the top three fantasy features were indoor renovations, marking a shift from the previous year when outdoor renovations such as resort-style outdoor pools ranked highly. Unsurprisingly, as many pandemic restrictions were lifted, Canadians felt less of a need for the outdoor fantasy, as more had opportunities to host guests indoors.
Nonetheless, the number one fantasy feature over the past 12 months remained an outdoor renovation. For the second year in a row, coming in on top was the creation of an outdoor cabana space with a full chef’s kitchen (40 per cent). The second most desirable fantasy feature was a fitness centre or home gym (34 per cent), followed by an indoor pool or sauna (31 per cent). Movie theatres also ranked high on the list of desires (29 percent), as did outdoor pools (25 per cent), though the interest in building a resort-style pool was down 11 percentage points over the previous year.
Interestingly, 44 per cent of younger homeowners (23-39 years-old), rated a fitness centre among their most popular fantasy renovations.
In Ontario, homeowners’ pets were more likely to be top of mind, with eight per cent saying they would add a pet spa to their home.
Year-over-year, Canadian homeowners have maintained the same level of mobility in the marketplace, with just 18 per cent of surveyed homeowners buying or selling a property over the past 12 months. Homeowners under the age of 40 are about twice as likely as those 40+ to have purchased a property in the past year (22% vs 10% respectively). Nearly half of those who purchased a new home in the past year say it required or will require renovations. This number is likely to increase over the next 12 months, as homeowners are purchasing fewer finished properties.
Homeowners in Atlantic Canada reported the lowest levels of mobility in the country, with just 7 per cent of those surveyed reporting buying or selling any kind of property. British Columbians were most active in the real estate market, with 23 per cent buying or selling.
Ontario homeowners reported the most primary residence home sales at 9 per cent, while British Columbians purchased primary residences at the highest rates: 14 per cent.
About a third of homeowners who purchased a home in the past 12 months chose a different type of dwelling from their previous residence. This emerging trend has seen homeowners move away from high- and low-rise condos and into townhouses or single-family homes (20 per cent). In fact, only one per cent of Canadians moved to a high-rise if they were not living in one previously. The move away from high-density urban settings is supported by a 2021 Scotiabank Housing poll which projected nearly half of millennials were considering moving out of the city to get more value for their housing dollars.4
Of course, this was also enabled by flexible working situations nationally.
When it comes to completing renovations, slightly more than half of surveyed homeowners said they attempt to complete some renovations themselves to reduce overall project costs. Homeowners in Atlantic Canada and Alberta are most likely to be willing to complete their own renovations. Half of Canadians surveyed, including 61 per cent under the age of 40, say they tend to put off completing a home renovation project if they are uncertain of the cost.
Eighty-one per cent indicated they usually research pricing before hiring a professional for a major renovation project, such as a kitchen remodel. Those surveyed were less likely to research prices for smaller renovation projects, such as lawn care or fixing a leaky pipe. When asked about their most recent major home renovation project, 60 per cent of respondents were confident they were charged a fair price for the job.
The most common method of finding a renovation professional came by word of mouth (54 per cent). Homeowners also tend to reuse professionals they have worked with previously, with 31 per cent of respondents saying they brought back professionals to do additional projects. The third most popular place to find professionals is via web search on Google (27 per cent).
When asked if Canadian homeowners read consumer reviews before hiring a home service professional, 62 per cent of respondents said they typically do read reviews.
The trust homeowners place in online reviews remains high, with 85 per cent of those surveyed reporting confidence in the integrity of online reviews. This is why HomeStars leverages reviews and ratings to match homeowners with qualified, vetted home-service professionals to hire with confidence and hire right the first time.
While trust in reviews remains high, homeowners are signaling an emerging understanding that not all reviews are equal in their integrity. Canadian homeowners are becoming more and more aware of websites that personally vet submitted product or service reviews prior to publication, such as HomeStars.
HomeStars is Canada’s largest network of verified and community-reviewed home service professionals. Whether starting a major renovation or just needing a minor repair, HomeStars has pros across Canada to help you accomplish your project. With a mission of giving homeowners the tools they need to hire right the first time, HomeStars is a prudent choice for every home improvement project.
On HomeStars, you can research home service pros across all home improvement categories and read more than 830,000 vetted reviews. Reviews empower homeowners to make confident hiring decisions for their home projects. Yet, we learned through the findings of this homeowner survey that only 14 per cent of respondents were aware of websites that vet reviews by humans and not by machines. The HomeStars Integrity Team checks and verifies every submitted review before publication for accuracy and legitimacy. Because the reviews are vetted by humans using strict criteria, roughly 20 per cent of reviews are never published. This shows homeowners that fake or wrong reviews are not posted, letting them trust the positive and negative reviews that are posted.
HomeStars has several trust tools beyond reviews to empower homeowner decision-making. Every pro on HomeStars has their Star Score listed on their business listing. This Star Score is a trust measure that takes into account the overall rating, recency, reputation, and responsiveness. Another trust tool that Homeowners should look for is a Verification Badge. When you see this badge on a HomeStars profile of a pro, you know that they’ve gone through background criminal and financial checks. With all of these supports in place, homeowners can rest assured they are getting accurate and complete information prior to investing in their home renovation projects.
These are the findings of a survey conducted by HomeStars from March 21 to March 25, 2022, with a sample of n=1,110 Canadian homeowners aged 23 years or older (excluding Quebec) who completed at least one home renovation or repair in the past year. All respondents were members of the online Angus Reid Forum, and the survey was conducted in English. Regional boosts were added to reach a minimum of 200 completes each in Alberta and British Columbia, and 100 completes in Atlantic Canada.
The additional re-contact findings of the survey conducted by HomeStars from June 3 to June 8, 2022, with a sample of n= 985 Canadian homeowners (excluding Quebec) who completed at least one home renovation or repair in the past year. All respondents were customers of HomeStars, and the survey was conducted in English.
HomeStars is Canada’s largest online marketplace connecting homeowners with trusted home service professionals. In 2021, 8 million homeowners visited HomeStars looking for a pro for their next home improvement project. HomeStars was created in 2006 to help homeowners make better hiring decisions. HomeStars is based in Toronto, Ontario, and is an operating business of Angi, Inc. (NASDAQ: ANGI). To learn more, visit @HomeStars on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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