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Australia – the renovation nation, in planning

Monday, 1 September 2014

St.George research uncovers hurdles for Aussies when starting their dream renovations

Research released by St.George bank today reveals that despite more than one-third of Australians planning to undertake home renovations in the past 12 months, only a small proportion managed to get started.    

Even though most Australians didn’t get past putting their renovation plans to paper, their spirit remains strong with more than two thirds (68%) of home owners saying their renovation plans are still on the calendar for within the next two years, and more than a third of these (36%) planning to get started in the next 12 months.

However, the research also revealed the barriers stopping keen renovators getting started on their project. Nearly one-third (32%) of home owners say they didn’t save enough money to start their renovations when they were originally planning. A further one in five stated they either didn’t have enough time to plan or were lacking the motivation needed to get the job done.   

Compared to the same time last year, renovators are also increasing the budget they are allocating to their project as Australians continue to save money at record levels. In 2013, 38 per cent were planning to spend between $5,000 and $10,000 on renovations, and 20 per cent were aiming to set aside up to $20,000 to create their dream home. In 2014, 36 per cent still plan to spend between $5,000 and $10,000; however those planning to spend up to $20,000 has increased to a third of all home owners (33%).   

Not surprisingly the Australian attitude of rolling up your sleeves to get the work done remains strong. Close to half of all home owners (45%) plan to tackle the renovation job DIY-style and call in the help of family and friends; however the majority (55%) will call in tradespeople for the more difficult tasks.

Andy Fell, General Manager, Retail Banking at St.George said with the start of spring, there is typically an increase in home renovations with home owners wanting to improve their home for summer or get it ready for sale. 

“The property market continues to perform strongly across Australia and we often see an uptick in spring, making it the perfect time for home owners considering selling their home to make some improvements to increase its value. It’s also a good opportunity for people wanting to improve the comfort and style of their home in the lead up to the summer months.   

“We’re regularly talking to customers and providing them with advice on ways to save money or look at options to pay for home renovations to help them get started on their project,” he said. 

Key research findings:

  • 68 per cent of Australian home owners are planning a renovation to their home in the next two years
  • Of this group, 36 per cent of Australian home owners are planning to renovate their home in the next 12 months
  • Gen Y led the charge on home renovations, with 60 per cent of home owners aged 18-24 undertaking home renovations in the past 12 months
  • Home owners aged in their early thirties (30-34 years) have the biggest budgets for home renovations with one in five (20%) planning to spend more than $20,000 on the project.
  • Not surprisingly, the most budget conscious are those aged under 25, with 40 per cent of this group allocating less than $5,000 to home renovations
  • Half of Australian home owners (50%) say they need to save more money before they can start the renovation process. Close to a third (29%) have money already saved
  • Inadequate savings was the top reason why home owners hadn’t started on a renovation in the past 12 months, followed by lack of inspiration and inadequate time to plan
  • When it comes to getting the job done, nearly half (45%) plan to complete the work by themselves or with the help of a friend or family member while 55 per cent plan to hire tradespeople to finish the job

Top tips to getting your renovation started

  • Assess your home to determine what will add the most value or increase the comfort of your living space
  • Plan and research your renovation in detail so you know exactly what it will involve and how long it will take
  • Set a budget to work out how much you can spend to ensure you don’t over-commit and can save for the items you really want 
  • Be realistic about your skill-set. If it’s going to be a difficult job, make sure you call in your local tradesperson for the more complex parts so you get it right the first time and avoid costly mistakes  
  • Put aside extra money in a contingency fund for any unexpected expenses along the way


For further information, please contact:

Mark Roberts – 02 9236 3521 or 0405 447 824

St.George Banking Group is a Division of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141