Get out the tools! Baby Boomers leading the way when it comes to home renovations

Sep 04, 2019
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Baby Boomers undertook more renovations than the younger generations throughout 2018, a new survey has revealed. Source: Getty

It might be mainly young people getting out the tools and redoing properties on The Block and other popular home reno shows, but a new study has revealed that it’s actually Baby Boomers who are picking up the tools and making the most changes to their properties.

While some may think over-60s don’t have it in them to complete an overhaul of the kitchen or bathroom, the annual Houzz and Home Australia survey has shown that’s certainly not the case with far more Boomers giving their homes a new lease on life compared to younger generations. Of almost 9,000 respondents from across Australia a whopping two-fifths, or 40 per cent, who said they were undertaking renovations were found to be aged between 55 and 74, followed closely behind by Gen Xers at 39 per cent.

Having spent far more years adding well-earned cash to the savings account, Boomers are spending approximately $21,000 on their renovation projects, $2,000 less than Gen Xers. And it seems they aren’t going to slow down any time soon with 35 per cent of Baby Boomers anticipating new projects in the second half of 2019.

The reason for this is apparently because home owners don’t want to sell up and move away from the home they’ve grown to love and would rather spend the money changing the style of their current houses to fit their new style. Keeping up with modern trends most renovators chose to re-do their kitchens first, followed by living rooms at 26 and 23 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, bedrooms, bathrooms and laundries were not quite as high up sitting around 17 per cent.

“Despite a number of headwinds for the global and national economy, renovation activity continued to keep pace in 2018 and will likely experience a robust growth in 2019,” Houzz Principal Economist Nino Sitchinava explained. “Pent up demand continues to drive renovation activity, while spend on discretionary projects such as kitchens continues to grow, signalling strength in consumer confidence.”

Just like in The Block, it isn’t always the home owners themselves who are picking up the tools and smashing down walls with the majority choosing the smart option and hiring a professional to help out. Electricians, plumbers and carpenters were in the greatest demand at 62, 51 and 40 per cent respectively.

Careful not to cause any damage to their home or themselves, Boomers were more likely to call in for help than Millennials by a figure of just 10 cent. However, it is clearly an important factor to consider with 93 per cent of Boomers going down this path compared to 83 per cent.

However, dreaming big does cost money and Baby Boomers have the advantage of having more time to save up the money over the years to develop their perfect house. Unlike Millennials, who may have only been in full-time work for a few years, Boomers are falling back on their savings to help fund the new project.

According to the survey using cash from savings to transform a home was most popular overall with 76 per cent of respondents choosing this option, while only 19 per cent opted to use their credit cards to revamp their homes, and 13 per cent decided to dip into cash from their home mortgage refinance. Interestingly, reliance on credit cards was higher with Millennials than in older generations.

Although changing the style to a modern trend is appealing, the study found improving energy efficiency is important for many, with over two in five homeowners prioritising this by replacing windows and insulation. This is particularly important for Baby Boomers when compared to Gen Xers and Millennials (50 per cent versus 39 and 36 per cent, respectively).

While some may think Baby Boomers are in the dark about technology, the survey found that is certainly not the case, with more over-60s choosing smart technology in their home renos than younger generations, like home assistants, streaming media players and security cameras. The data revealed 15 per cent of Boomers prioritise this option in their updated homes, compared to just 10 per cent of Gen Xers and 9 per cent of Millennials.

However, although practicality proved important to Boomers, styling isn’t so essential. Millennials are apparently making far more trips to decorating stores, with 73 per cent more likely to purchase pillows, throws and interior furniture to add a further pop to their renovation, compared to 60 per cent of Boomers.

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Have you undertaken a home renovation? Is it something you have considered?

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