More Renos for Less Money as Homeowners Feel the Squeeze

May 31, 2017

Home Renovation

Growing numbers of Canadians choose to renovate but will also spend less, as both home prices and debt soar, finds CIBC survey

With many homeowners unable to afford to move, but household debt levels at record highs, it’s no wonder that more and more Canadians are turning to renovation to meet their home needs – but are spending less money doing so.

That’s according to the findings of a new CIBC survey, which states that almost half (48%) of Canadian homeowners are planning on making some form of improvement to their homes this year. This is up considerably from 36% in 2016.

CIBC 2017 reno infographic

There seems to be a direct correlation between renovations and high home prices, as 56% of homeowners who plan to renovate say they are choosing to improve their home instead of selling it and buying another.

However, the amount that they intend to spend on those renovations has gone down compared with 2016 and 2015 – with the average at $11,800 for 2017 renovations.

That figures is slightly higher for British Columbians at just under $13,200, which is itself beaten out by Ontarians, who plan to spend an average of nearly $16K this year.

            2017           2016           2015
National       $11,795       $13,017       $12,293
BC       $13,188       $15,522       $16,639
AB       $7,351       $22,952       $13,520
MB/K       $8,288        $7,7709       $9,516
ON       $15,988       $13,878       $15,488
QC       $8,445       $7,933       $5,992
Atlantic       $9,212       $10,837       $7,964


According to the survey, this money is not typically being spent on major changes but instead primarily to address “wear and tear” and basic home maintenance, like painting, new flooring and replacing appliances.

Respondents planning to undergo renovations this year said they most worried about project delays, disruption at home and overspending. And worry they might. Although 86% agreed with the statement “renovations end up costing more than you plan for” and 31% said they have blown the budget on a previous reno, 61% of those planning to renovate this year don't have a detailed budget for their project.

“Renovations can be stressful, but having a detailed budget can help minimize the disruption and keep your project on track,” said Scott Wambolt, senior vice-president, Retail and Business Banking, CIBC. “Be clear about the goals and limits of your project as well as the costs before you head over to the hardware store or pick up your toolbox. While DIY can add up to some cost savings, it could end up costing you more if you don't know what you're doing.”

Joannah Connolly has been editor and content manager of since May 2014. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, and has moderated and spoken on several industry panels. During this time, she also spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio 98.3FM. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 20 years of journalism experience in Vancouver and London, with a prior background in construction, architecture and business media.
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