March 23, 2015 by Dymphna 19 Comments

Why is Reno TV so popular?


Ok, quick survey guys. For my own interest, why is Reno TV so popular in Australia?

I’m genuinely curious. Something big is happening. Last year, the only TV shows more popular than Renovation TV were the footy finals.

And if you were to look at the top 10 TV shows last year, you would conclude that Australians have a love affair with sport (duh.), cooking and renovating their homes.

Sport’s a no brainer, and who doesn’t love food?

But the rise of reno reality TV is interesting isn’t it?

It makes me wonder what’s driving it?

Now I know what drives my love affair with reno’s. Well, maybe it’s less of a love affair than a marriage of convenience.

Ok, ok, I married them for the money.

Renovations and manufacturing growth became central to my strategy once I realised I needed capital gains to drive my portfolio, and I wasn’t happy to sit around a wait for a market to maybe rise, maybe fall, maybe do nothing but sit on the couch all day and smoke cigarettes.

I wanted to take it into my own hands – I wanted to create value myself, on my own terms. And so I started looking for a way I could do that. Renovations then presented themselves as a means to an end. Not the only one. But a powerful one.

But that’s the relationship I have with them. Is that how everyone who’s watching Reno TV feels about it? Is that why we, as a nation, find reno TV so fascinating?

It is true that we spend a lot of money on renovations. I saw some stats that said that in 2012 we spent $6.35 billion on renovations.

That’s a lot of money.

But then we also spent $6 billion on pets and petcare, and you don’t see 4 out of the top ten TV shows about pets.

(Australians did apparently spend $7 billion on illegal drugs last year, so maybe that explains the popularity of the CSI franchise.)

And it seems the Reno shows do have an impact on our decisions. There’s a statistically significant impact on renovation spending associated with the most popular shows like House Rules and The Block.

Modelling by the Housing Industry Association showed that renovation spending received a $251 million boost each time a series of The Block went to air.

Figures collected by local services marketplace Oneflare also show a surge in home industry related job requests across the board around The Block.

There was a:

  • 48% rise in job postings for interior designers,
  • 35% rise in requests for kitchen renovations,
  • 30% increase in bathroom renovation job postings, and
  • 28% increase in requests for architects.

That’s pretty major, right?

And some of the tradies on the site reckon that some of the requests come straight from House Rules and The Block.

Personally, I find these stats a little alarming. Maybe the shows are a reminder for people to put their already well thought-out and carefully costed renovations plans into action.

But it doesn’t sound like it.

It more sounds like people are acting on the spur of the moment – on a whim.

Hey Babe, check this out. Maybe we should knock out the dividing wall?

Great idea babe. I’ll call a tradie on Monday.

This is NOT a good strategy for building wealth and generating capital gain.

It’s like I saw a stat the other day from interiors website the other day. In a survey, they asked people what they would do if they suddenly found themselves with a spare $15,000.

72% nominated home improvements over a holiday.

Of course I said. That’s what I would do. Holidays are a consumable. Once you take it, it’s gone. Much better to invest the money. Use it to increase the value of your PPR or investment property. Put that $15,000 to good use.

It seemed obvious to me.

But my friend said that maybe I was being generous.

“I don’t think people are thinking it through that carefully. Maybe they’ve just decided to treat themselves to some Smeg appliances. Or maybe they’re just throwing up a deck to impress the neighbours.

Just because they’re spending it on their house, doesn’t mean they’re spending it wisely.

It’s a fair point.

So I guess that’s the question I have about the popularity of Reno TV. Maybe there’s three options:

  1. It reflects the interest a financially savvy public takes in strategies for manufacturing growth.
  2. Australians are just very ‘house-proud’, and we like thinking about and investing in our homes.
  3. It’s a case of keeping up with the Brangelina’s. We’re a bit vain about our houses, and we want to keep them cutting edge.

Or maybe it’s something else. Am I missing something?

Maybe it’s a combination of all three.

But I’m curious to hear what people think.

Why is reno TV so popular?

If you watch it regularly, what do you get out of it? Has it given you some good ideas you can apply to your own investments?

What else am I missing here?