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"Home Sweet Home" has never rung more true. During the pandemic, Canadians' homes became offices, movie theatres, classrooms, gyms and "staycation" destinations. As Canadians spent more time at home out of necessity, renovations, additions, moves and upgrades soared.

According to a recent survey conducted by RBC, 40 per cent of respondents renovated their home, or intended to during the pandemic. And 30 per cent intended to purchase a significant item for their home — such as a pool, TV or furniture.

Here’s how Canadians have reinvented their homes:

Renovating Existing Spaces

Home offices became essential as parents and partners needed workspaces and children started attending school online. Backyard sheds, spare bedrooms and attics were remodelled into home offices and schoolrooms.

And as gyms closed across the country, sales of fitness equipment skyrocketed. Garages, basements and even balconies were converted to home gyms.

Adding more Living Space

According to Abacus Data, 49 per cent of respondents to a March 2021 survey said adding more space to their home would help their needs more. Building a second storey or ground floor square footage created the breathing room Canadian families needed as their lives became centralized under one roof.

Re-imagining the Outdoors

Beginning in the spring of 2020, Canadians began really investing in the outdoors. Today, the demand for swimming pools remains so great, many pool installers are booking installations into 2022. There’s a shortage of cedar for decks, and some trampoline suppliers reported a 300 per cent growth last year. As travelling was put on hold, Canadians outfitted their properties with recreational gear to take “staycations” to a whole new level.

Downsizing or Moving Out

Of course, not all Canadians were able to expand or remodel their spaces. Data from the RBC survey shows 10 per cent of Canadians chose to move to a smaller home instead. And 13 per cent planned — or have — moved out of cities. The latest data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board indicates sales growth in suburban areas was higher in late 2020 than in the city itself. Across the country, sales of properties in semi-rural areas and smaller cities also rose.

Having a comfortable home that serves more purposes became a key priority for many Canadians during the pandemic. And home offices and home gyms may continue to get more use as the future of on-premise work remains in question and Canadians continue to avoid fitness clubs.

Considering a renovation or planning a move? An RBC advisor can help you figure out your next steps so your home can meet your changing needs.

When you’re ready, book an RBC Check In with an advisor today.

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