Home improvement shows like those on HGTV have sparked an "explosion" in home renovation spending in Canada, says a report released by the Altus Group.
The report says that spending on home renovations in Canada has doubled in the past 15 years, spiking in 2013 due to to economic growth and more disposable income.
While shows on HGTV have contributed to Canadians’ willingness to renovate their homes, the report says that lower interest rates and rising home values have enabled them to do so.
"The HGTV effect, I'm afraid, is very real," says Realtor Sarah Daniels.
Daniels, the former host of HGTV's show Urban Suburban, says 15 years ago home renovations focused more on things that "worked." But now that's changed.
"It's 'keeping up with the Jones' to a certain extent," says Daniels, who thinks consumers are increasingly inspired by the brand new kitchens and living rooms they see on TV.
Renos outpace new homes
According to the report, the home renovation industry contributed $63.4 billion to the Canadian economy — more than the amount spent on building new homes.
B.C. and Manitoba had the smallest increase in renovation spending in 2013, while Saskatchewan had the greatest increase that year. The report attributes B.C.’s lag to the HST system that was later repealed; provincial taxes aren’t charged on home renovations.
According to the report, 75 per cent of home renovation spending went towards improvements, with the rest going towards repairs and conversions. It also explains that a general increase in housing stock only accounts for one quarter of the increase.
Renovation contractor Marc Fabbro agrees that more and more people are inspired by home renovation reality shows.
"Clients will come to me with different ideas they've seen on HGTV or other TV programs," says Fabbro.
Fabbro says that the trend has lead to more work. It also means that his clients come to him with more direction, which he welcomes.
The report predicts that a combination of “robust home sales and continued low interest rates” will cause housing renovations investments to continue to increase by about three per cent in 2014 and 2015.
The HGTV effect shows no sign of letting up. Another new home renovation show is slated to begin filming in Vancouver this fall.