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The home improvement industry has become a key economic driver in the country over the last few years as more Canadians look to add value to their humble abodes.

A poll by CIBC in the spring found that 45 per cent of Albertans plan to renovate within the next 12 months. The average spend on a home renovation was expected to be $8,073. That’s nine per cent higher than a year ago, but off by 65 per cent from 2016, when homeowners said they were spending on average $23,000 to improve their homes.

Those are impressive numbers, and figures that fuel economic prosperity for several different trades and retailers. They also add value to a home.

In the same poll, 86 per cent of Canadians said they believe any renovation is an investment in their home. The top renovation projects were basic maintenance (52 per cent), landscaping (39 per cent), bathrooms (39 per cent), replacing doors or windows (29 per cent), and kitchens (28 per cent).

In June, a national survey of more than 750 Royal LePage real estate experts found that a kitchen renovation is the clear upgrade of choice, with the potential to boost a property’s value by more than 12.5 per cent.

The next most popular renovations with potential to increase a home’s selling price were bathrooms and finished basements, offering potential property value increases between 2.5 per cent and 12.5 per cent.
Those real estate experts also recommended people look at interior renovations (95 per cent) over exterior renovations (five per cent).

When asked which generation is the most likely to renovate their home, 45.1 per cent of surveyed experts said Baby Boomers, as many are planning to sell and downsize. That demographic is also most likely to have the funds and the equity in a home needed for a significant renovation.

While renovations can be an exciting time for people, they can also be fraught with challenges, frustrations and anxieties.

It’s interesting that a Reno-Assistance survey in June by Ipsos found that 64 per cent of Canadians do not trust general contractors. Confidence levels are even lower for some specialized contractors. The most trusted building professionals among those surveyed are electricians, yet nearly half (47 per cent) of Canadian homeowners do not trust them either.

The survey also found that seven in 10 Canadians have difficulty finding a contractor they can trust for a renovation of more than $5,000.

“Calgary is the city where price is most important, more so than honesty – which is the most important selection criteria in the rest of Canada,” said the survey.