Tradies are in high demand and short supply as Australians spending more time at home during the pandemic drive a renovation boom.

Australians have been spending record amounts on renovations, with PropTrack senior economist Eleanor Creagh saying COVID has driven an ongoing reassessment of lifestyle wants and housing needs.

“Home renovations have boomed nationwide as more time spent at home combined with ultra-low loan rates, government grants and improved household savings became the perfect combination of factors to drive heightened demand for renovations,” Ms Creagh said.

Ms Creagh said the pandemic-induced shift in lifestyle wants has been one of the biggest shifts ever seen when it comes to housing preferences.

“We have all been forced into our homes for much more time, international borders have been shut and this has seen many reassessing their housing needs and preferences.

“All that time spent at home drove demand for renovations, perhaps a home office or simply home improvements.

“For some the constrained supply of properties for sale in 2021 would have added to the impetus to renovate and upgrade their current home, over selling and looking for a subsequent property to purchase.”

The end of COVID lockdowns and restrictions in Australia’s biggest cities Sydney and Melbourne led to record volumes of jobs posted on online tradie marketplace hipages, its chief customer officer Stuart Tucker said.

“From the three months leading into Christmas and what we’re seeing today, this is the biggest home improvement boom that we’ve seen easily in the last five years, if not ever,” Mr Tucker said.

There was a 56% increase in the number of homeowners posting jobs for project managers, 41% rise for landscape architects and 29% lift for kitchen designers.

Jobs for pool builders increased by 22% in 2021, as did landscape and gardening jobs, while requests related to home theatres rose 10% and extensions and additions by 6%.

The most sought-after trades on hipages were handymen, plumbers, electricians, fencers, painters, cleaners, builders, concreters, tilers, and carpenters.

While noting there was plenty of work available for tradespeople on the platform, Mr Tucker also advised homeowners to book tradies early, particularly in suburbs with high demand.

“The message that we give to homeowners is to plan early, particularly for those big jobs because it’s probably going to take longer than you expected.

“So if you wanted something done in the winter I’d be planning now and getting on the front foot with those trades and booking them in early.”