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March 11, 2021

By: Samriddh Chaudhury

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, daily life as we knew it ground to a halt. Vacations were canceled, reunions were postponed, and while the world outside clamoured to cope with the new realities of COVID-19, inside their four walls, Canadian families had an opportunity to reset and use this time to adapt to the ‘new normal.’

In the same way that staring at our own faces on Zoom calls all day has led to a boom in skincare and cosmetic procedures, all the time spent under the same roof has compelled a surge in home renovations. A well-designed, purpose-built home office has never felt more important (just like that nice background in all those video meetings) and for some Canadians, fewer social outings and less time commuting has afforded them the time (and money) they needed to actually tackle those renovations.

At Abacus Data, we wanted to know how many Canadians have undertaken a DIY or paid renovation project in the past year. We surveyed 1,500 Canadians, and here is what we found:

1- Almost 1 in 2 Canadians have already done or are planning to do home renovations during the pandemic.

Many Canadians have looked into doing home renovations during the pandemic, and almost 1 in 4 have already done some upgrades.

2. A majority of homeowners have already done or are planning to do renovations.

For Canadians aged 30 to 44, half have already done or are planning renovations to their homes. For Canadians who own a home, almost 1 in 3 have already done renovations (30%) or are planning to (25%). Those in rural communities are more likely to have done or are planning to do home renovations than those living in urban or suburban communities – likely because homeownership rates are higher outside of larger cities.

3. Canadians want multipurpose spaces that are personalized and increase home value.

With most people spending more time at home, 8 in 10 Canadians want renovations for comfort so that they are relaxed within their space. Another driver for renovations is functionality. The closure of gyms, offices, and recreational centers may have led to 9 in 10 Canadians wanting a multifunctional space with those added amenities.

This prolonged period of working from home has led to 6 in 10 Canadians believing they now have more time to plan home renovations than before.

4. Half of Canadian homeowners are looking to increase property value through renovations.

Looking specifically at homeowners, it becomes clear that there are high levels of interest in renovating a property to increase value.

In a RE/MAX report published March 8, 2021, the vice president of RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada termed the housing market as an “affordability crisis”, with demand at an all-time high and inventory levels very low. He attributed this to unprecedented price growth, lowinterest rates, and an increase in household savings, which has resulted in Canadians increasingly investing in real estate.

Our data corroborate this claim. Home upgrades are a direct trigger to increase property value, and Canadians are fully participating in this movement. The areas with the most support include Ontario (57%), Saskatchewan/Manitoba (57%) and British Columbia (54%).

In regions such as the Greater Toronto Area, 3 in 5 homeowners are looking to renovate their property to increase value. The same RE/MAX report suggests Toronto is the hottest Canadian housing market, and homeowners are taking advantage of this opportunity.

5. Canadians are diversifying their investment across their homes.

Canadians are choosing a wide array of home renovations like bedrooms (36%), washrooms (36%), and office spaces. (16%).  Almost 1 in 3 Canadians are also investing in other spaces such as pools, highlighting the multipurpose renovations taking place across the country.

This suggests that Canadians are split in their reasoning behind renovations. The drivers are a combination of personal functionality through the construction of multipurpose spaces, and future profit through investments in home upgrades.

6. Many Canadians believe now is the right time to be doing home renovations.

Close to 1 in 4 Canadians believe now is the best time to undertake home renovations. This includes 1 in 4 Canadians aged 18 to 44.

Individuals with higher income are also likelier to invest in renovations with 1 in 3 Canadians with income over $100K keen to start swinging hammers.

THE UPSHOT

According to Samriddh Chaudhury: The COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns have fundamentally shifted how Canadian families work, function, and access the routines of their life before the pandemic. With work, school, entertainment, and recreational activities all centralized under one roof, homes have become the one-stop-shop for daily activity.

While many Canadians are still focused on the daily and long-term repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a sizeable opportunity for home renovations to become a productive investment. The uncertainty of lockdowns, vaccination periods, and prolonged absence of work has made home renovations an optimal and accessible solution.

Canadians want their ‘new normal’ home to be multifunctional and comfortable, and home renovation offers that outlet in an accessible way.

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METHODOLOGY

This survey was conducted online with 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and over from February 19th to February 22nd, 2021. A random sample of panellists was invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

In Canada the data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

This poll was conducted and paid for by Abacus Data.

ABOUT ABACUS DATA

We are the only research and strategy firm that helps organizations respond to the disruptive risks and opportunities in a world where demographics and technology are changing more quickly than ever.

Find out more about what we are doing to help clients respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are an innovative, fast-growing public opinion and marketing research consultancy. We use the latest technology, sound science, and deep experience to generate top-flight research-based advice to our clients. We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and exceptional value.

We were one of the most accurate pollsters conducting research during the 2019 Canadian Election.

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