05/27/2015 09:59 EDT | Updated 05/27/2016 05:59 EDT

Home renovation market thriving in Vancouver

The home renovation industry is thriving in Metro Vancouver, according to an economist with CIBC.

Citing figures from the Bank of Canada, Benjamin Tal said renovations in the region are worth nearly $8 billion to the B.C. economy.

A report by TD Economics in 2013 found renovation spending across Canada has increased roughly seven per cent a year since 2003.

"This is fastest pace since 2007, so clearly people are renovating their homes at a pace we haven't seen in many years," said Tal.

"It's difficult for most people just to afford to move to the next level, so renovations give people the option," said Huguet.

"They can cast their vision on paper and maybe even do it in stages."

But more renovations, do not necessarily mean bigger budgets.

In a CIBC poll earlier this month, Canadian homeowners said, on average, they plan to spend $17,000 on renovations, down from almost $20,000 last year.

While budgets may be down, the number of people planning to renovate is up. 42 per cent of people polled this year plan to renovate, compared to 40 per cent last year.

Tal predicts the renovation market will become even stronger as the increase in housing prices makes it more difficult for people to trade up. 

Melanie Watt and Rob Ayrd were thinking of upgrading and leaving their Coquitlam bungalow for a newer home.

"We looked at a place in Burnaby which was close to what we wanted but it was $1.5 million — so that's not on," said Watt.

Instead, the couple used the equity in their house and spent a few hundred thousand dollars renovating.

"Next door is Melanie's best friend, for like 37 years ... to stay here is like a bonus," said Ayrd.