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Renovation Nation: home improvement in Australia

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2012-September 2013 (n=14,110) and October 2015-September 2016 (n=10,835). Base: Australian home-owners 14+
*NB: Home owners = Australians who either own their home outright or are paying it off

We’re a house-proud bunch, and getting more so by the year. The latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal that close to 8.4 million (or 62%) of Australia’s 13.6 million home owners did some kind of renovations in the last 12 months—up from 7.5 million (57%) three years earlier.

Minor repairs/alterations are the most popular kind of home improvements, undertaken by just over 5.8 million (43%) Australian home-owners* in the past 12 months, an increase of almost 700,000 people since 2013.

Painting is next on the list: more than 3.7 million home-owning Aussies (27%) painted internal and/or external walls, window sills, ceilings etc, up on almost 3.5 million three years ago. Shelling out for plumbing and electrical work is also common (3.4 million home owners respectively), while 2.9 million people engaged in more decorative refurbishments such as installing new curtains, carpet or wallpaper.  

Home renovations/improvements done by Aussie home-owners: 2013 vs 2016


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2012-September 2013 (n=14,110) and October 2015-September 2016 (n=10,835). Base: Australian home-owners 14+ *NB: Home owners = Australians who either own their home outright or are paying it off

Just over 2.2 million home-owners (17%) spent more than $5,000 renovating or extending their home (300,000 more than in 2013)—a figure that rises to more than a quarter (26%) of those who’ve been living at their current address for less than 12 months. In contrast, just 14% of those who’ve been at the same address for five or more years have paid the big bucks for home improvements.

What’s more, newly installed home-owners (less than a year at their current address) are more likely than their longer-settled counterparts to have redecorated/refurbished their property (31%), done any painting (31%), and to have spent money on electrical (32%) or plumbing (28%) work in the last 12 months.

Not surprisingly, people who own a separate house (62%) are more likely to have renovated or made home improvements than those who own a villa unit/terrace (56%) or flat (54%). This is consistent for all kinds of home improvements, from the most minor repairs to major $5,000+ jobs.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The latest figures from Roy Morgan show that, over the last few years, an increasing number of Australians are doing renovations or repairs of some description to their homes. Even bearing in mind that the number of people who own or are paying off a home has grown by 400,000 since 2013, the trend towards domestic improvement is still trending upwards.

“As our data also shows, home-owners who have been at the same address for a year or less tend to be more inclined to undertake renovations, alterations or repairs than people who’ve been at their address for longer. This suggests that they have recently purchased and moved into a home previously owned by someone else, and are making their own mark on it. It’s not that renovation activity plummets once they’ve been in their home for a while, but that first year is particularly active.

“Meanwhile, Australians in rental accommodation are less likely to be spending on renovations and repairs (generally the landlord’s responsibility), or even redecorating. When they do, the timing and decision-making process are very different, with longer-term tenants being more inclined to make home improvements. No doubt, feeling secure in their lease and established in their rental residence would play a role in this.

“With hugely popular reality TV series like The Block and House Rules inspiring DIY fervour among Aussie audiences and home ownership rising despite inflated property prices, hardware and home improvement retailers and tradespeople stand to benefit from this booming market. Whether it’s tracking renovation trends or providing state-, city- or even suburb-based analyses, Roy Morgan Single Source’s deep, multifaceted home-owner and renovation data is the key to more targeted, effective marketing.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%