Queensland breaks renovation record
QUEENSLANDERS are officially the best renovators in the country, scooping top national awards last night as latest data showed spending on upgrades has hit record levels here.
Just shy of $1.5 billion ($1.435b) was spent tweaking Queensland homes via alterations, additions and conversions in latest annual figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The renovation spend was a rise of just over $13.4 million in the four quarters to March compared to the same period the previous year. ABS figures released this month said.
This as Queenslanders celebrated last night scooping national renovation gongs at the 2018 Houses Awards - with a worker's cottage and a Queenslander emerging as the top renovated properties in Australia.
Add to that a small Brisbane firm, Red Hill-based Zuzana and Nicholas, was named the country's best emerging architecture practice, with 95 per cent of their work now focused on renovations and one of their renovation projects Monash Road House in Tarragindi highly commended by judges.
Australia's best house alteration and addition under 200 sqm was a worker's cottage, Terrarium House in Highgate Hill designed by John Ellway, which was transformed "into a luscious, planted oasis".
Judges commended John Ellway for exploiting the natural fall in the site to insert living spaces into the once unused undercroft of the home.
"The compactness of the house is its triumph; circulation flows seamlessly from one space to another and not one inch is wasted, with notable Japanese influences."
Morningside Residence by Kieron Gait Architects in Brisbane's inner-city suburb of Morningside was Australia's best house alteration and addition over 200 sqm, with the judges calling the renovation "a quiet, respectful and poetic addition to a 1920s Queenslander".
"At a time when Brisbane is losing significant numbers of its historic housing stock to demolition or unsympathetic makeovers, the Morningside Residence provides an enduring alternative that is more true to culture and place," the judges' citation said.
Zuzana Kovar, who along with partner Nicholas Skepper, saw their firm become Australia's best emerging architecture practice, said it was not hard to believe that Queensland had reached almost $1.5b in renovation spending annually.
She said there were some homeowners in Brisbane spending half a million dollars on renovation work, with much of the spending involving building underneath a home, sometimes on sloping sites, with significant excavation, restumping and structural work.
"Average spend varies depending on how much they want to add and depending on the state of the existing house. Sometimes they could be not adding much but the house is in such a bad state it goes to that," she told The Courier-Mail.
"Sometimes it's minor things and repainting then most of the budget is given to adding new spaces. It can vary from $100-150,000 all the way up to $500,000."
"In inner-city areas where you don't have the option to demolish the house, you have to keep it and work with it, then the only option is to invest in renovation or extension.
"A lot of people are interested in retaining the character as well. It becomes sentimental to them."
Ms Kovar expected spending on upgrades to continue to rise - pushed along by older building stock hitting a century and strict limits on demolition in character areas.
The most popular renovations Queenslanders wanted, she said, were adding space, opening up homes for indoor-outdoor living or reworking internal space to suit growing families.
"People want more space than when these houses were built 100 years ago."