News

GFC sparks renovation rise

The home of Derek and Stephanie Unterburger in Girards Hill has been under renovation for five years.
The home of Derek and Stephanie Unterburger in Girards Hill has been under renovation for five years. Cathy Adams

THE term "renovator's delight" is no longer real estate agent speak for "unliveable old hovel" but applies to the growing trend for homeowners opting to do up or extend their houses, rather than sell up and buy something new.

A survey of 1300 Australians by Australian Home Beautiful magazine found two-thirds of them, squeezed by the GFC, were either renovating now or planned to in the next two years.

The survey's findings are backed up by statistics from the Housing Industry Association, which describes 'renos' as the "shining light of residential building" - as shown by the sector's growth in the September quarter.

"The value of major renovations work done grew by 0.9% to be up by 6.3% on the commensurate quarter one year earlier," the association reported this week.

HIA economist Andrew Harvey said the trend was likely to continue, both because Australians loved to renovate and because they increasingly preferred to direct excessive property transaction costs towards improving their homes rather than trading up.

Fears about the uncertain economic conditions are driving the trend, with almost half of survey respondents saying renovating was the best option at present.

But renovating can be costly too, warns Derek Unterburger, who is five years into revamping the family home in Lismore's Girards Hill.

"However much you think it's going to cost, double it," Mr Unterburger said.

Then again, he is a self-confessed perfectionist and he and his wife, Stephanie, have gone to great lengths to stick to the original style of the Depression-era house.

Plus, the house was "pretty rough" to start with and unexpected problems arose during the work - including unearthing 12 tonne rocks blocking the new driveway.

They had no front door for six months and the kitchen was little more than a dining table and George Foreman grill for another two.

But the Unterburgers persevered and the end is near, though not until more effort has been expended in painting and other work.

Soon they will have a home they have transformed into something beautiful and, they said, exactly as they want it.

 

RENO ADVICE

Derek Unterburger has these tips for would-be renovators:

  •  Know what you want before starting, stay engaged with the work and be firm with the builders.
  •  Ask yourself if it's going to add real market value to your home.
  •  Double the amount you estimate it's going to cost.

Topics:  gfc, homeowners, renovations




The $40 million super school with no name

NEW SCHOOL: An artist's impression of the new Ballina high school.

Education Department still deciding on name for Ballina super school

Serial offender sentenced to 15 months in jail

A man and woman were arrested following a police chase last night at Blacksoil.

Serial offender caught at Tweed Heads

Overcrowded North Coast schools packed to rafters

NORTH Coast schools bursting at seams with too many students

Latest deals and offers

Taylor Swift dismissed from jury duty

Taylor Swift was dismissed from jury duty in a sexual assault case

Zumbo's Willy Wonka hat trick trips up Queensland brickie

Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo with Zumbo's floating dessert in a scene from Zumbo's Just Desserts.

NOOSA'S Michael Basset asked to recreate floating chocolate dish.

John Lennon's killer denied parole for 9th time

John Lennon

John Lennon's killer has been denied parole for the ninth time.

Mexican band takes aim at Trump

Disguised as unhinged narcotraficantes, the Mexican-American agitators of BRUJERIA captured the mood of the citys minorities with the bands infamous and widely banned 1993 debut, Matando Geros (Killing White People), quickly becoming the Spanish-language counterparts to early grindcore masters TERRORIZER and NAPALM DEATH.  Photo Contributed

'Satanic drug lord' band challenges Trump

Willy Wonka star, Gene Wilder dead at 83

A still of Gene Wilder in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Social media has already lit up with tributes to the late actor.

Falls tickets go on sale

Cold War Kids wow audiences at Falls Festival in Byron Bay despite the soaring tempratures and humidity. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

General sale starts at 9am

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.