2020 was the year like no other. One thing to emerge from the turmoil was that we spent more time at home than ever before and, not surprisingly, this has had some major flow-on effects.
The way we view our home has changed, maybe forever. Our home has always been a place of warmth, safety and togetherness, but the word sanctuary has been added to that list.
In 2020 the home also doubled as an office, a classroom and, for some, a place in which to quarantine.
Around this time each year Addbuild usually reports on the trends we are seeing from Sydney homeowners.
We are in a good position to survey the market. Working on up to 80 projects a year, Addbuild observes a wide enough cross-section of people, and can spot emerging themes: especially how homeowners are renovating and why.
A year ago, with so much uncertainty, any trend prediction was likely to be outdated within a few weeks, but as we have emerged from the pandemic, we are feeling more confident in our observations for 2021:
Renovating Not Moving
Speak to any real estate agent and they will tell you their problem isn’t house prices, it’s stock.
You would think that the pause in migration to Australia would lead to an excess of houses on the market compared to usual, but homeowners are preferring to renovate rather than sell and buy a new home.
The lack of stock is in turn contributing to price rises, but, so far, this hasn’t led to people ‘cashing in’.
Higher home prices also make it even more attractive to renovate. Adding another bedroom, for example, will see a comparably bigger return if you were to sell at a future date.
Home Office and Home Study
Workplaces have continued to allow people to work from home even when this stopped being a COVID-19 requirement.
2020 opened everyone’s eyes to the benefits – and challenges – of working from home. Most of us emerged from the year determined to continue working from home for at least a few days a week.
However, there is the challenge of a lack of privacy when multiple people are working and studying from a home not designed with that in mind.
Almost every major renovation we design and build now considers this. Whether that’s a separate home office or providing more room to help the kids study in peace.
The single biggest reason to renovate is to accommodate a growing family (the arrival of a new-born, or kids becoming teenagers and needing their own space) and that hasn’t changed.
However, there’s been a noticeable trend to design bigger bedrooms that can include a good sized desk for study, or a separate kid’s study.
Back Garden Living
Homeowners have taken stock of key areas of their home – where they spend time and can get away from the pressures we’ve all recently experienced – and many have once again embraced their gardens.
Indeed, UK research revealed that spending more time in the garden helped people’s mental well-being during the pandemic.
In terms of people renovating their homes, there has been a shift away from extensions towards home additions as people are looking to enhance and preserve their garden space which is often reduced when building an extension.
Adding space by ‘going up’ can also be a more cost-effective way of improving your home.
The value of a second or third bathroom also became more apparent due to COVID-19. Home quarantine usually required an individual within the home to stay away from other members of the household, minimising the sharing of spaces.
This was even more pressing for bathrooms where the prevalence of hard surfaces was seen as more of an issue in terms of transmission of COVID-19.
Flood & Fire Awareness
Other events of the past 18 months have also had an impact on how we improve our home and where we live.
The devastating fires of 2019-20 and the more recent “one in 100-year” flooding around Sydney have raised our awareness of how to best prepare our home for these possibilities.
With flooding, homeowners in affected areas are looking at everything from the materials used in their renovations to the possibility of raising the height of their home.
There may also be Development Application requirements that have to be considered if planning significant home improvements in these areas.
The NSW Government has released a flood-prone land package which provides advice to councils on considering flooding in land-use planning, with the finalised package commencing on 14 July 2021. Councils are required to amend their land-use planning documents before the changes commence.
For those living in areas identified as “bush fire prone”, on 1 March 2020 the NSW Government adopted the Planning for Bush Fire Protection 2019 guide in the Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulations. It provides development standards for designing and building on bush fire prone land in New South Wales.
Looking back at our 2019 Home Trends Report, we are still seeing a shift to home automation, sustainability and multi-generational homes.
Planning a Major Renovation?
If you are considering major home improvements, we hope these trends give you some ideas for how you might proceed with your project.
Every homeowner is different with their own unique circumstances, so if you are looking to discuss your plans in more detail with experienced renovation experts, we’d love to hear from you.
As a ‘concept-to-completion’ builder with over 40 years in the Sydney market, Addbuild has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with you. We can design your plans, look after the development application process, and then build your renovation.