Welcome to the third annual HomeStars Reno Report!

Conceived in 2019, our Reno Reports are designed to gauge Canadian homeowner attitudes and behaviours towards renovations, motivations, trends, popular jobs, spending and more. This year, we surveyed Canadian homeowners who had completed home renovations since the beginning of COVID-19 and the findings were contrary to previously released reports.

It was widely reported that the pandemic lockdowns influenced the types of renovation projects that homeowners took on in 2021 -- expanding or adapting homes for better work, education and enjoyment spaces; however, our survey found that only 32% of surveyed homeowners were motivated to renovate due to COVID-19 . Most homeowners, 68%, said that COVID-19 was not the major reason for renovating. The strongest motivation to renovate was to improve the overall aesthetics in their homes.

Our COVID-19 edition Reno Report 2020 noted that outdoor renovations led, while this year we’ve noticed a distinct shift to indoor renovations. And the top job changed as well this year. Instead of bathrooms which took the number one spot in 2020, we are seeing a return to 2019’s most popular job, interior painting. This was followed by installation of new appliances, unsurprising with the increased use at home. Now in the second year of the pandemic, we are seeing a change back to pre-COVID attitudes toward our homes and how we use and invest in them.

Canadian homeowners have continued to spend on renovations and a healthy 81% had the cash on hand to do home improvement projects. According to Statistics Canada’s latest data on residential renovations, spending on renovations from February 2021 to June 2021 jumped 66%, likely due to the fact that Canadians were spending more time at home and less money travelling than in the past. Our survey found that Canadian homeowners are likely to maintain the same level of spending in the next 12 months, despite a worldwide pandemic and supply chain disruption that caused material shortages and price surges earlier in the year. Only 35% of respondents this year said they postponed some renovation plans due to cost of materials.

We also had some interesting provincial findings. Regionally, homeowners in Ontario spent the most on renovations during COVID-19, with those in Atlantic Canada closely at its heels. During COVID-19, Albertans spent the least on renovations, whereas back in 2019 they were most likely to have done larger projects over $50,000. In terms of future spending, Ontarians are again projected to spend the most on renovations in the next 12 months.

On the subject of trust, our Reno Report found that the majority of Canadian homeowners (69%) hired a professional to do renovations since the beginning of COVID-19. Earlier this year, we surveyed our homeowner base and found over 98% of Canadian homeowners read reviews before making a purchasing decision. This time spent on research likely contributed to the strong consumer confidence we have seen, with 65% of homeowners who hired a professional confident they had been charged a fair price.

Hiring throughout the pandemic means, more than ever, that homeowners need to have trustworthy and reputable professionals working in their homes. While off-line resources like word of mouth are still a popular way to hire, researching home service pros on HomeStars empowers homeowners to make informed hiring decisions. Using reviews, ratings and verification, homeowners can ensure a better renovation experience.

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!

From our home to yours,

Shir Magen
Shir Magen
CEO of HomeStars

Key Findings
Of the Canadian homeowners we surveyed who completed renovations during COVID-19, 94% took on indoor renovations while 66% of respondents did outdoor renovations during the pandemic.
Only 32% said COVID-19 influenced their decision to renovate, while 68% said they renovated for other reasons.
Most respondents say their biggest motivation to renovate, at 58%, was to “refresh” the look and feel/improve the aesthetic.
Tied for second place with 35% of respondents each was fixing the small jobs/wear and tear as a result of staying at home more and renovating to improve their outdoor space.
81% of respondents had the cash on hand to fund their renovations during COVID-19.
When we asked respondents what their fantasy reno would be if cost or space were not an issue, most (40%) chose an outdoor cabana with full chef’s kitchen.
35% postponed renovation plans due to the high cost of materials.
Looking Ahead
Among those who already renovated during COVID-19, 77% plan to do interior renovations and 51% of respondents plan to do exterior renovations in the next 12 months.
Canadian homeowners who plan to renovate in the next 12 months expect to spend, on average, the same amount of money as those who renovated since the beginning of the pandemic. This applies to both indoor and outdoor renovations.
Top Jobs during COVID-19
Country Renovations
  • Spent an average of $11,560 on all renovations (indoor and outdoor)
  • Planning to spend $11,490
  • Top fantasy reno: Outdoor cabana with full chef’s kitchen (45%)
  • Second most popular indoor job: bathroom renovation
  • Alberta
  • Spent an average of $9,550 on all renovations (indoor and outdoor)
  • Planning to spend $10,750
  • Top fantasy reno: Fitness centre (41%)
  • Second most popular indoor job: basement renovation
  • British Columbia
  • Spent an average of $9,550 on all renovations (indoor and outdoor)
  • Planning to spend $10,750
  • Top fantasy reno: Fitness centre (41%)
  • Second most popular indoor job: basement renovation
  • Saskatchewan/Manitoba
  • Spent an average of $10,410 on all renovations (indoor and outdoor)
  • Planning to spend $10,890
  • Top fantasy reno: Resort-style outdoor pool with waterslide (45%)
  • Second most popular indoor job: bathroom renovation
  • Atlantic Canada
  • Spent an average of $11,050 on all renovations (indoor and outdoor)
  • Planning to spend $9,980
  • Top fantasy reno: Indoor pool/sauna (37%)
  • Second most popular indoor job: installed new appliances
  • Going Green
    Living the Good Life
    How the Pandemic has Inspired Canadians to Rethink “HOME” - RBC:

    Reno Report 2020 - HomeStars:

    Add/Remove data - Government of Canada, Statistics Canada:

    Spiking construction material costs impacting builders - Ontario Construction News:

    HomeStars 2021 Review Behaviour Survey: A Deeper Look at the Data - HomeStars Pro Center:

    Whoever has stock right now is king:’ Surging appliance sales cause shortages - CTV News:

    Reno Report 2019 - HomeStars:

    Compare Electricity and Natural Gas Rates - Energy Rates:

    Canada Greener Homes Grants: News, Videos & Articles - Global News:

    Posthaste: Looks like Canada’s hot, hot housing market has peaked - Financial Post:

    HomeStars 2021 Review Behaviour Survey - A Deeper Look at the Data:

    For more information about this survey or HomeStars.com, contact:

    Lauren Wasley
    lauren@carlawcommunications.com | 647-883-9439