ACT News


Renovators no longer a delight

ONCE the bastion of energetic bargain hunters, Canberrans appear to be falling out of love with the slightly battered properties optimistically described as the renovator's delight.

ACT real estate agents are reporting a move away from properties in need of attention, with buyers who might previously have opted to do the hard work themselves instead leaving the elbow grease to others.

Anecdotal reports suggest properties already given a facelift are instead becoming more popular.

Cameron Whitnall, of the McGrath estate agent's Woden office, said buyers had less time for renovations.

''It's more commonplace for people to just want to move in and enjoy their home, rather than purchase and have to start renovating,'' he said.

''There's also resistance to properties that haven't been renovated well.''


LJ Hooker Manuka proprietor Stephen Thompson said there had been a demographic change.

''It used to be the majority of people wanted to buy a doer-upper,'' Mr Thompson said.

Buyers have to be realistic about how much time renovations would take, and whether they have the skills themselves or need the help of a builder.

''Expectations are often different to reality,'' Mr Thompson said.

''They have to ask themselves, 'Do I want to spend the next 15 to 20 weeks working on the house?'

''Some people just don't want to go through the hassle of negotiating with builders.''

A bricklaying instructor at the Canberra Institute of Technology, Brian Lawrence, said few people outside the trades had the skills to renovate. He said the number of people who are undertaking hobby courses in his trade also appeared to be declining.

''It's dropped off a bit,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the number of people brought up with any trade skills seems to be declining as well.

''A lot of people want to do things around the home but their skills don't match up,'' Mr Lawrence said.

''In the courses I run, many of them enjoy the eight hours of bricklaying over two weekends, but then they'll ask me for a phone number for a bricklayer.''