Why 2023 wasn't the best year to renovate – but you still have options!

Fact Checked
Home Loans
Updated 15/12/2023
Why 2023 wasn't the best year to renovate – but you still have options!

Some renovators will be waiting up to two years for their projects to be completed.

Time to read : 5 Minutes

Following several years of decline during the pandemic – thanks in large part to supply-chain disruptions – many Australians spent 2022 renovating their homes. But given the surging cash rate, high cost of labour and materials, plus an uncertain economic outlook, 2023 wasn't the best time for renovation plans.

That’s not to say you can’t increase the value of your home at all. In fact, there are plenty of property hacks that you can tackle over a weekend.

Key points

  • The high price of timber and other essential building materials isn’t expected to level out until at least 2024.

  • Some renovators will be waiting up to two years for their projects to be completed.

  • Homeowners spent 43% more on their renovations in 2023 than they did in 2022.

  • There are plenty of small DIY projects that can still increase the value of your home.

No one can find a tradie

If you tried and failed to get a tradesman to handle jobs around your home in 2023, you’re not alone. We're actually in the midst of the biggest tradie shortage in several decades.

Residential property construction is up 80% on pre-pandemic levels.

The sky-high cost of timber and other materials isn’t expected to ease until 2024 or 2025.

The price of hiring a skilled tradie rose by more than 10% over the past year.

Thanks to skills and material shortages, some renovators will be waiting up to two years for their projects to be completed.

Is paying more really worth it?

While it’s frustrating having to wait out these global shortages, the price of doing it right now could put you in financial hot water. Last year, homeowners spent an incredible 43% more on renovations compared to 12 months prior.

Plan your project beforehand

One of the biggest dangers of renovating your property is the cost blowout. In such a volatile market, you could be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars more than you were quoted. Is this something you can afford right now?

Remember that half of all renovations in Australia cost between $40,000 and $300,000, so you’ll need to plan the minute details of what you want done and how much it will cost. Here’s what you can expect to pay, depending on the space:

  • Kitchen: $25,000 to $50,000

  • Bathroom: $15,000 to $30,000

  • Living room: $10,000 to $15,000

  • Bedroom: $2,000 to $5,000

  • Exterior: $15,000 to $60,000

  • Swimming pool: $35,000 to $100,000

While a renovation may not be affordable right now, there’s plenty you can do to make your home look and feel better. You may also increase its value.

10 ways to add value to your home (without major renovations).

Just because we're currently going through a difficult period with labour and material shortages, that doesn’t mean you can’t increase your property value. In fact, by skipping the tradie costs and doing a few DIY jobs instead, you can save money while still enjoying a mini home makeover.

Not sure where to begin? YouTube has stacks of DIY videos that can teach you about smaller reno tricks, even if you’ve never picked up a hammer in your life. Just make sure you stay safe when you:

  • Install timber Venetian blinds or plantation shutters on your windows.

  • Paint your front door in a striking colour, such as deep red or bold blue.

  • Replace drawer and cabinet handles in your kitchen.

  • Add tiles to your kitchen splashback.

  • A fresh coat of paint inside can turn a rundown home into a sparkling sight for sore eyes.

  • Spruce up the garden and plant beautiful flowers that are low maintenance.

  • Install shelving, such as open kitchen and laundry shelves, to increase storage space.

  • Add a fire pit to your outdoor entertaining area.

  • Transform your living space with attractive cushions, rugs and throws.

  • Replace your traditional toilet seat with an automatic bidet seat.

The bottom line:

Unless you had cash to burn and an insatiable desire to have your home renovated immediately, 2023 wasn't a great year for renovations and next years seems about the same. You can still do plenty of small things around your property to increase its value in 2024 – especially if you're getting ready to sell due to mortgage stress or downsizing plans.

Read more: Home insurance is becoming unaffordable for parts of Australia

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The information contained on this web page is of general nature only and has been prepared without taking into consideration your objectives, needs and financial situation. You should check with a financial professional before making any decisions. Any opinions expressed within an article are those of the author and do not specifically reflect the views of Compare Club Australia Pty Ltd.