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Poll: Canadians spending $$$ on renovating over moving

Are you planning on moving into your dream home, or spending money to renovate your current home? Survey says: renovate! A CIBC poll released this month indicates Canadian homeowners will spend an average of $17,000 this year on home renovations. One Toronto resident tells us why she’s one of the renovators and why she’s upgrading her bathroom.

Highlights of the Poll

  • While projected budgets are down, the number of homeowners planning to renovate has remained high at 42 per cent this year in line with 40 per cent last year;
  • $17,142 is the average amount that Canadian homeowners plan to spend this year;
  • Basic home maintenance (64 per cent) such as painting, flooring, general repairs and replacing appliances is the top planned renovation, followed by outdoor landscaping (32 per cent), upgrading bathrooms (29 per cent) and kitchens (28 per cent).



The percentage of Canadians who say they plan to invest in renovations in their home in the next 12 months:

2015 2014
National 42% 40%

The amount Canadian homeowners plan to spend on renovations by dollar range:

2015 2014
Nothing 4%   –
$1 to $4,999 19% 14%
$5,000 to $9,999 23% 20%
$10,000 to $14,999 16% 15%
$15,000 to $24,999 14% 18%
$25,000 or more 16% 18%

Budgeting is one of the most important aspects of a home renovation. y:

Why renovate in the first place?

McGillivray says many homeowners are choosing to renovate rather than buying a new home in an effort to get the home they want.

“I find that more and more people right across Canada are looking for creative solutions to add more space so that they don’t have to move,” he says.

Not only that, but with housing prices consistently on the rise, renovating seems like a more affordable choice.

Kulbinder Saran Caldwell, a columnist and life coach in the city of Toronto, reached out to us to share her story on why she plans to renovate her home instead of move.

Caldwell and her family live at Davenport Road and Christie Street. Although they love the house they live in, she and her husband thought about purchasing a detached home. High prices are preventing that, she says.

“The detached is definitely $1 million right now,” she says of the real estate market. “A semi-detached is $700,000.”


Caldwell recalls a conversation she had with a friend about the price of homes and was under the impression that $700,000 was steep for a semi-detached. (Side note: I would think the same!).

“She said it’s going to probably sell for $900,000 and it did,” says Caldwell. “It’s just wild.”

The idea of moving came to mind this spring season when Caldwell’s husband pulled his motorcycle out of storage for riding season. Since the couple doesn’t have a driveway, he has to park it on Davenport Rd.

“His motorcycle has been hit over and over again,” she says. “We really would love some place that had a garage, but now that we realize we can’t pay the million dollars, we’re thinking about renovations in the house.”

The first item on the list: the bathroom. While the family that lived in the home prior to them did a lot of renovations, one of the rooms that was neglected was the bathroom. “During our cold winters, the pipes froze. When I would flush the toilet, water would come out of the sink. It was just really bad for practical purposes!”

Caldwell says they’d like to add more insulation in the bathroom and upgrade the floors to heated flooring. “I think that would make a big impact for us.”

While it’s a three-bedroom home, Caldwell says one of the bedrooms was converted into a walk-in-closet and office space. “We would like to turn it back into a third bedroom in some form of a practical guest room,” she says, adding there is a guest bedroom in the basement, but it’s not equipped with a functional bathroom.

The home renovations don’t stop there. Caldwell’s property backs onto a ravine and she’d like to build a space for entertaining outdoors.

If you’re among the same school of thought as Caldwell (renovating over moving), check out our directory of home service professionals! We have dozens of professionals in the following home improvement categories:

What are homeowners planning to renovate?

  1. Bathrooms: Modernizing a bathroom – adding new fixtures, a low-flow toilet, space-saving cabinets, new tile or adding a master bedroom ensuite can all add value, often at a reasonable cost.
  2. Kitchens: Upgrading cabinetry, countertops or appliances, or enlarging a small or poorly laid out kitchen can add a premium to a home’s value.
  3. Finished basements: A finished basement can add space in your home by one-third.
  4. Flooring: Ripping out old carpets or refinishing a hardwood floor can be a selling point.

Here’s an overview of the top planned home renovations Canadian homeowners plan to undertake:

Basic home maintenance (painting, flooring, general repairs, replacing appliances) 64%
Landscaping (including outdoor deck) 32%
Bathroom renovations 29%
Kitchen renovations 28%
Replacing windows or doors 20%
Basement 16%
Home repairs due to weather damage this past year 13%

Renovating & Home Value

The added benefit of what Caldwell and her husband are doing is by spending money upgrading and improving their home, they’ll add value to the property. And it looks like they’re doing the right renovations that are sure to increase value, according to McGillivray.

It’s important to carefully consider which renovations will add and hurt home value.

  • Swimming pools;
  • Skylights.

While these might add the “wow factor” to your home, they won’t drive up the selling price as a new kitchen or bathroom would, says McGillivray.

“You don’t want to build a $150,000 custom kitchen in a $200,000 home. You have to be realistic about your needs, and where money is best spent.”

Are you ready to renovate your home? We have an extensive directory of home service professionals, including general contractors, electricians, kitchen and bathroom renovation specialists. Scroll through customer reviews and image galleries. Get inspired and hire the right professional for your renovation!

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