A recent Master Builders survey of its members has found the most popular renovations are bathrooms and decks, followed by kitchens.
The survey found 25 per cent of people renovate their bathroom, followed by 23 per cent who add on a deck or patio, and almost 10 per cent who prefer a kitchen.
Master Builders deputy CEO Paul Bidwell said the preference for renovating these areas reflected our lifestyle choices.
“The deck, bathroom and kitchen have all become centres of the home which are pivotal to the way in which people like to live,” Mr Bidwell said.
“When asked about trends in the home, the most common theme was cost.
“The transactions costs involved in upgrading or down-sizing are significant, covering legal fees, agent’s commission and stamp duty. Many homeowners find it much less expensive to renovate, rather than move and build new.
“When undertaking a renovation, people are seeking more space, and arranging living space to achieve open-plan living or dual occupancy.”
In addition, respondents recorded a significant drop in demand from first-time buyers (50 per cent) and investors (43 per cent). Demand from upgraders and downsizers stayed the same, but there was a sizeable increase in upgraders, with one in three reporting an increase.
Bathrooms: Free-standing showers topped the list of amenities expected in a bathroom project, while free-standing bathtubs are also important. Smart technology such as smart lighting and intelligent toilets are definitely finding their place in the bathroom. Other features that respondents named as being important included dual wall-hung vanities, frameless shower screens, large format tiles, heat pumps, wall niches and disability access.
Kitchens: Island benches are the most sought-after feature in the kitchen, while butler’s pantries have also become popular. Smart technology and appliances such as wine coolers, built-in coffee machines and smart fridges are important. Other features regarded as important include solid timber bench tops, gas appliances, glass splashbacks, tub sinks, top quality appliances and hardware.
Outdoor kitchens: These are an area of growing demand that are becoming more integral to the liveability of a home. To some extent, they are still regarded as a luxury item and are generally one of the first things to go if the contract price needs to be reduced. Their size is increasing and their amenity more sophisticated. Typically, there is a connection to water and electricity to allow for sinks, fridges and range hoods. Mains gas, good lighting and stone tops are important. The stainless steel, industrial look is in, as are pizza ovens, ideally wood fired.
Appliances: When it comes to appliances, top quality is still sought-after. Stainless steel and quality brands such as well-known European ones, are regarded as good value because of recent price drops. Free-standing ovens, gas or induction cookers (900mm and six burners) are being requested. Steam ovens, often in combination with a microwave, sous vide cookers and ice machines are being installed.
Smart homes and technology: This is the area where the least demand is being seen – and even an area of decreasing demand. While smart homes and the latest technology are desireable, it is often unaffordable. In instances where people include smart technology, it is often about wireless control and automation of lighting, air-conditioning, audio visual equipment and other devices. Increasingly these need to be connected to the internet and compatible with smart phones, increasing the importance of NBN services. Outside the home people are looking for internet connected security cameras, digital intercoms and keyless entry. Technology to improve energy efficiency is also being requested and often includes smart options for glass and hot water.
Lighting: LEDs now completely dominate the market and are used for everything from downlights to pendant and strip lighting. LEDs have allowed strip lighting to become more common as rebates in the cabinet, skirtings, pelmets or ceiling coffers. LEDs are seen as an affordable, energy efficient option but there are some concerns about the quality that is being imported. In some cases, they are now controlled by remotes or automated technology.
Colour schemes and material choice: The range and choice has increased and so has the use of design consultants. Neutral, natural and earth colours – whites, greys, tans and timber continue as favourites. Other less “safe” options are also being requested, such as black or pastel tones. When it comes to materials, glass splash backs, black taps, polished concrete, rendered artisan feature walls, marble and wallpaper have all been requested.
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