Having a comfortable and functional home has always been important, but never has its importance been highlighted as much as during the Covid-19 pandemic. With people spending so much more time at home, it was only natural that many people’s thoughts turned to DIY home improvements.

In this article, we take a look at home improvement statistics in Canada, including how much Canadians are spending on home improvements on average, what impact the pandemic has had, what the home improvement market is worth, and what improvements Canadians are most likely to make.

Home Improvement Statistics for Canadians

  • Almost ¾ of Canadians had carried out a DIY project in their homes before the pandemic.
  • 57% of homeowners completed one or two minor DIY projects in 2019.
  • Painting the interiors is the number one DIY job, especially among 23-34-year-olds.
  • More than a fifth of Canadians visit DIY stores at least once a month.
  • In 2019, the Canadian home improvement industry generated approximately $50 billion in sales.
  • Home Depot of Canada is the most popular choice for home improvers.
  • 94% of Canadians took on indoor DIY projects during the pandemic.
  • One out of five Canadians put off larger projects that would have meant outsiders coming into their homes during the pandemic.
  • Spending on home improvement projects increased by 66% from February 2021 to June 2021.
  • Following the pandemic, Canadians main reason for home improvements was for personal enjoyment rather than to increase the value of their home.
  • Only 4% of Canadians would spend more than $50,000 on home improvements, while almost half would want to keep the spending below $10,000.
  • 49% of Canadian homeowners prefer to carry out all home improvements themselves with no professional help.
  • 80% of Canadians say sustainability is an important factor when making home improvements.
  • Indoor/outdoor pools, chef’s kitchens and home fitness centres are the top fantasy home renovation projects in Canada.
  • 68% of Canadians have at least one smart home technology device.

What comes under home improvement?

According to the Government of Canada, there are three main types of renovations. The first category is lifestyle renovations such as remodelling to meet your changing needs. Projects in this category include building a second bathroom or turning an office into a nursery.

The second category focuses on mechanical systems or the shell of your home. These so called retrofit projects include upgrading insulation, installing new windows or replacing the furnace.

The final category is repair or maintenance renovations which keep your house in working order. These kinds of projects include renovations such as plumbing or re-shingling your roof.

Almost three quarters of Canadians have completed a DIY project to improve their home before the pandemic

Doing it yourself is definitely popular in Canada with 73% of Canadians having carried out improvements in their homes before the pandemic. The most common spaces Canadians have renovated themselves include bedrooms with 45%, bathrooms at 43% and basements at 37%.

However, when asked which space they should remodel in their homes, 26% think they should renovate their basements while only 9% said the bedroom. 70% of Canadians believe that renovating large spaces such as kitchens or washrooms is most likely to add value to their homes.

In 2019, 57% of homeowners in Canada had finished one or two small projects or repairs in their homes. During the same year, 36% of Canadians had finished between three and ten DIY projects.

What are the most popular home improvement projects?

Interior painting is the most popular project in all age groups, but there are differences between the younger and older Canadians. Among the 23-34 age group, 53% said they would choose to paint to improve the appearance of their homes. In the over 55 age group, only 35% said painting was their most popular job.

With 23%, having new appliances installed was the second most popular job. During the pandemic, it was so popular that the number of people looking to update their appliances caused shortages across the country.

In the third place were bathroom renovations with 21% of homeowners choosing this as their top job. Reasons included bathrooms being relatively quick and easy to renovate, but having high personal value as a place to relax in.

Over a fifth of Canadians visit DIY stores at least once a month

Before the pandemic, the home improvement statistics showed that 21.6% of Canadians visit home improvement stores at least once a month. Almost half of Canadians (44.8%) said they visit DIY stores only a few times in a year.

What is the Canadian home improvement industry worth?

Before the pandemic, in 2019, the Canadian home improvement industry generated approximately $50 billion in sales. Consumers in Canada were most likely to spend their money in building centres and big box stores with a market shares of 46% and 26% respectively. Between 2015 and 2020, the average home improvement industry growth in Canada was at 1.3%.

The market value of Canadian home improvement stores is $25 billion. There are 2,269 home improvement companies and they employ 88,879 people in Canada.

What are the most popular home improvement stores in Canada?

Home Depot of Canada and Lowe’s Companies Canada ULC have the largest market shares. Sales generated by Home Depot were $8.8 billion in 2019, with Lowe’s coming second with $7.1 billion. Home Hardware stores were not far behind Lowe’s in sales with €6.6 billion.

41.8% of Canadians chose Home Depot as their first choice when renovating homes. Interestingly, the second most popular choice was Canadian Tire, which was the number one store for 25.4% of Canadians, despite not making it into the top three companies for annual sales revenue. The third most popular home improvement stores were Lowe’s, with 9.3% people choosing to go there first before looking elsewhere.

How has Covid-19 affected the home improvement industry?

The home improvement industry was one of the rare sectors that were not hit hard by the pandemic. With more time spent at home, more Canadians, 94%, took on indoor renovations and 66% made outdoor renovations during the pandemic.

According to Statistics Canada, spending on home renovations increased by 66% from February 2021 to June 2021. The increase in spending is likely because with more time spent at home, homeowners could use money they saved not travelling on home improvement projects.

50% of Canadian homeowners took on projects such as outdoor pools and decks during the pandemic. Other popular projects included landscaping their gardens, renewing fences and creating play areas for children. 25% of Canadians said the reason for outdoor remodeling was to create more fun but functional outdoor spaces, since they were spending more time at home.

However, only 20% of Canadians were willing to take on larger projects that involved using outside professionals such as plumbers or carpenters. Their reason was not wanting outsiders in their homes for the fear of catching the virus. 18% of Canadians said they couldn’t take on larger projects because they didn’t have the money.

Reasons for home improvements have changed since the pandemic

In the past, the main reason for home improvements was the expected return of investment, but this changed because of the pandemic. A report from RE/MAX Canada found that since the pandemic, over half of Canadians renovated their homes for personal enjoyment.

Only 16% said the renovations were to increase the market value of their home while 29% renovated to enhance their lifestyle and another 29% carried out maintenance work or improved the safety of their homes. However, 59% of Canadians said they always consider the return of their investment when deciding to renovate.

How much are Canadians spending on home renovations?

According to RE/MAX survey, 47% of homeowners said their home improvement budget was under $10,000, while 31% said they would spend between $10,000 and $50,000. Only 4% of Canadians would consider spending above $50,000 on home renovations.

Since the beginning of Covid-19, the average spend in Canada has been $10,860. The highest spending was in Ontario where the average was $11,560. Interestingly, Albertans spent the least at $9,550 despite being the top spenders before the pandemic. In 2019, Alberta had the highest percentage of renovations costing over $50,000.

Even though 81% of Canadian homeowners had the cash on hand to do home improvements, the Simply Group saw a 30% increase of in home renovation loan applications in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter of the same year. The trend continued in the third quarter, when loan applications went up by further 15%.

Kitchens are the most expensice space to remodel, followed by bathrooms

The average kitchen remodelling costs between $25,000 and $30,000 in Canada. However, the price can easily go up to $50,000 and above, depending on the choice of appliances and materials.

Countertops take a large chunk out of the kitchen remodelling budget. On average, they cost $100 – $200 per square foot. The advice from Appraisal Institute of Canada is to spend no more than 15% of the home’s overall value on kitchen renovations.

Bathrooms renovations can be expensive, too, with the average standard sized bathroom renovation costing between $14,400–$19,500. It is possible to save a little with cheaper materials and fittings and get an economy remodelling for around $12,300. It is equally easy to spend a lot more on a bathroom, around $41,200 with luxury fixtures and fittings.

When looking to improve the value of their home, what improvements do Canadians see as the best return for money?

When homeowners were asked what renovations they thought would yield the best return for their money, 70% of the respondents said modernising and improving the functionality of large spaces such as kitchens or washrooms. 56% would also take on minor updates such as refreshing paint to improve the resale value.

55% of the homeowners said they would landscape the outdoor space while half of them would consider adding rooms or knocking down walls to improve the sale price.

Almost half of the homeowners (49%) said they preferred to carry out most or all of the work themselves to get the best return for their investment. However, only a third (33%) of Canadian homeowners feel capable of carrying out all the improvements without professional help.

What are the top fantasy renovations in Canada?

If Canadians didn’t have to consider the cost, how would they choose to improve their homes? There are some regional differences with 43% of homeowners in Ontario most likely to have an outdoor cabana with a full chef’s kitchen. In Alberta and British Columbia 41% of homeowners would create a home fitness centre.

45% of homeowners in Saskatchewan and Manitoba said their fantasy renovation would be an outdoor pool with a water slide, while 37% of people in the Atlantic provinces would prefer an indoor pool with a sauna.

Canadians are keen to make green choices when renovating

Majority of Canadians, 80%, say that sustainability is important when choosing materials for home improvements. 56% of all homeowners who have renovated since the start of the pandemic, used green products in their renovations.

Most popular ways of going green included choosing energy-efficient appliances at 29% and low VOC paint at 27%. The third most popular choice was installing an energy efficient furnace with 14%.

Canadians can get up to $5,000 for projects to improve their homes’ energy efficiency from the Canada Greener Homes Grants program. They can also get $600 towards carrying out home energy evaluations.

Smart technology at home

68% of Canadians have at least one smart home technology device with a smart home thermostat being the most popular device at 37%. Internet based home assistants such as Alexa were the second most popular with 32% and motion sensors the third most popular with 26%.

Summary

The pandemic did not have a negative effect on the home improvement industry unlike on many other industries in Canada. With people spending more time at home, they took on more home improvement projects with 94% of Canadians taking on a project compared to 73% before the pandemic.

Canadians continued to spend more on home improvements projects with spending increasing by 66% from February 2021 to June 2021. The pandemic also changed the Canadians motivation to carry out improvements at home with more people doing it for personal reasons rather than to increase the resale value of their home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Interior painting is the most popular project in all age groups, but there are differences between the younger and older Canadians. Among the 23-34 age group, 53% said they would choose to paint to improve the appearance of their homes. In the over 55 age group, only 35% said painting was their most popular job.

Before the pandemic, the home improvement statistics showed that 21.6% of Canadians visit home improvement stores at least once a month. Almost half of Canadians (44.8%) said they visit DIY stores only a few times in a year.

Before the pandemic, in 2019, the Canadian home improvement industry generated approximately $50 billion in sales. Consumers in Canada were most likely to spend their money in building centres and big box stores with a market shares of 46% and 26% respectively. Between 2015 and 2020, the average home improvement industry growth in Canada was at 1.3%.

Home Depot of Canada and Lowe’s Companies Canada ULC have the largest market shares. Sales generated by Home Depot were $8.8 billion in 2019, with Lowe’s coming second with $7.1 billion. Home Hardware stores were not far behind Lowe’s in sales with over $6 billion.

The home improvement industry was one of the rare sectors that were not hit hard by the pandemic. With more time spent at home, more Canadians, 94%, took on indoor renovations and 66% made outdoor renovations during the pandemic.

According to Statistics Canada, spending on home renovations increased by 66% from February 2021 to June 2021. 50% of Canadian homeowners took on projects such as outdoor pools and decks during the pandemic. However, only 20% of Canadians were willing to take on larger projects that involved using outside professionals such as plumbers or carpenters. 

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