Majority of Canadians consider home renovations an investment

By Peter Squire

Last year, CIBC polled Canadian homeowners on what they planned to spend on renovating their home, results show. Results were in the $10,000 range, down slighty from 2018 which recorded $11,000. Still a significant expenditure and in many cases, necessary to maintain the largest investment for the vast majority of Canadian homeowners.

One important result from the CIBC survey released in June 2019 is that 89 per cent of Canadians consider home renovations to be an investment. You just have to go to a Home Depot or Lowes on the weekend and you know Canadians are fully engaged in spending time and effort in looking after their investment.

Another important finding in this poll is that 50 per cent, or one in two Canadians, said home maintenance ranks highest in what they plan to spend their money on. This is a positive development, especially in cities like Winnipeg (suspect home maintenance may rank even higher here) which has some of the oldest housing stock in the country.

Renewal of housing stock, in general, should be a priority locally with huge benefits to be realized in preserving market value of the home and realizing energy savings by way of taking proactive steps to replace older windows with far more efficient ones and installing quality insulation.

This past weekend, the Winnipeg Renovation Show was held at the RBC Convention Centre. Attending Friday afternoon and taking in the RBC panel entitled: Let’s Talk Home Improvement & How to Boost Your Home Value, there was some excellent information and advice imparted.

2019 WinnipegREALTORS® president Kenneth Clark was one of the panelists who provided practical tips to increase the potential of achieving your asking price when selling your home. He talked about necessary maintenance and repairs on outside components of the home, e.g. cracked driveway, as sellers get one chance at creating a positive first impression.

An interior example he provided was the bathroom. If you come into a bathroom and see black moldy caulking around the tub you will question what else has this homeowner not done to look after this home. Clark also opined that an older generic bathroom or kitchen countertop might be a priority, given the importance buyers place on kitchens and bathrooms. Finally, he also talked about the putting a fresh coat of paint throughout the home and apply neutral colours as this is the least offensive to the majority of buyers. As Clark said, “Make the buyer’s purchase as seamless and fresh as you can.”

Along the lines of the CIBC survey results and practical tips, all panelists provided on RBC’s panel, Bryan Baeumler of HGTV Canada fame, and a feature speaker at the Winnipeg Renovation Show, share with writer, Geoff Kirbyson in a special Winnipeg Free Press edition Renovations magazine that “kitchens and bathrooms are the bling.” He felt other things such as health, safety and efficiency are equally, if not more important. “Anything you can do to reduce the long-term maintenance cost of your home will turn into real value.”

Speaking of maintaining your home to preserve and gain value, a few years ago when WinnipegREALTORS® was sponsoring the spring Winnipeg Home and Garden Show, it was suggested to the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) that it would be wonderful to do a brochure hand out for a home show where attendees could glean helpful information on essentials around the value of renovating their home. 

To their credit, they did just that. It is entitled How to Value Your Renovations and available online on their website under

It is well done and imparts valuable information on determining the reasons why you are renovating and what brings most value. There is too much to cover off here and I recommend checking it out. However, the following is worth mentioning.

One place AIC stresses and even identifies are key renovations necessary to maintaining the worth of your home.  It is all well and good to do a remodeled kitchen and/or bathroom which will translate to bringing one of the highest returns of investment to your home but you cannot ignore the renovations necessary to maintain home value. The five most important ones are replacing the roof, updating the heating/cooling system, replacing windows and doors, updating electrical (panel, sockets and fixtures) and replacing structural defects. 

AIC even points out renovations that do not bring the highest returns on investment but may provide the homeowner with the highest enjoyment value — citing a finished basement, landscaping, and decks and fences, sun rooms/additions and garages.

So before you embark on your renovation project in 2020 or even beyond ,  seak to an appraiser and your REALTOR® to determine what makes the most sense (dollars and cents), in terms of investment of time and money.

Just from a marketing perspective alone when you go to sell in a highly competitive marketplace such as is often the case in WinnipegREALTORS® market region, it behooves you as a homeowner  to do your homework and keep on top of what you need to do to maintain the value of your home. It will pay off in the long run as Beaumler indicates.

Peter Squire is WinnipegREALTORS® Vice-President, External Relations & Market Intelligence.