How much does a garage conversion cost in New Zealand?

Garage conversions vary from project to project, so determining the cost of a garage conversion in New Zealand is difficult. However, we’ll help give you a clear idea of what’s achievable at different price points by highlighting some real-life Refresh garage conversions and the actual cost of creating them.

The results of a garage conversion depend on a variety of factors, so it stands to reason that the final cost will vary depending on those same factors too. Having completed thousands of successful renovations though, we’ve noticed a few patterns. When it comes to garage conversions, the conversion purpose, the property’s existing condition, and the materials used have the biggest impact on the final cost.
In this article, we look at the effect these main budget drivers have on the cost of a garage conversion and provide examples so you can compare and contrast each project with your own set of priorities. Some areas will require compromise and others will allow for a splurge; it all depends on the results you’re after. 

How much does a garage conversion cost in New Zealand?

A garage conversion in New Zealand will cost between $35,000 - $180,000+*
You may come across a beautiful granny flat conversion with luxury finishings that cost well over your budget to complete, but if your goal is to create a minimalist home gym of the same size with simple lighting and basic flooring, your final cost is likely to come in far below that of a lavish fit-out.  
Working with a Refresh Renovation Consultant is the best way to get an accurate idea of what you may spend on your specific garage conversion, but here are examples to showcase what’s achievable on different budgets.

Main budget drivers

  • Conversion purpose
  • Existing condition
  • Products and materials used

Read on to find out how much your garage conversion may cost depending on the changes you are looking to make.

Garage conversion purpose

There are several reasons why a homeowner may opt for a garage conversion: extra space for extended-stay guests, a quiet office to get work done, or a dedicated rumpus room for the kids. Why does motivation make a difference? Because the intended use of each project comes with its own set of requirements - insulation, plumbing, electricity, ventilation, council applications, heating - a few on a long list of many. 
A simple garage conversion, such as a gym or home office, will be more affordable as costly add-ons are easily avoidable and council consent will probably not be needed. But converting to a guest suite or other habitable dwelling is deemed a “change of purpose” renovation and calls for both building and resource consents which, of course, cost money. 
This $30,000* garage conversion to multi-purpose room was aimed at creating additional closed storage and practice space for the musically inclined homeowners. (OCT 2018) Without the requirement of council consent or the need to engage any speciality contractors, costs were kept relatively low. 
While council regulations did not apply to this next project either, the homeowners opted for some high-end design features that increased the overall cost. See here how the garage conversion featuring a custom laser-cut steel door and accompanying media room was completed for $130,000*. (DEC 2019)

Existing condition

The starting point of your garage conversion will be a determinant of the end cost. A dilapidated garage that needs extensive repairs may require architects, structural engineers, and other expensive speciality contractors to execute a safe conversion. However, a structurally sound garage with a solid foundation would be an ideal starting point.
In addition to those scenarios, attached and detached garages call for unique considerations as well. This garage-to-self-contained flat conversion was completed for $164,000*, with the council requiring a firewall to be installed between the main home and the soon-to-be flat. (NOV 2020).  

Despite contractors’ best efforts at due diligence, it’s beneficial to build a contingency cushion into your budget in case structural or foundational issues are uncovered once your garage conversion begins. Looks can be deceiving, as was the case during this 52m2 $188,000* garage conversion that required the rebuilding of a non-compliant slab foundation. Read more here. (SEP 2021)

Products used

When drawing inspiration for your garage conversion, it’s easy to get carried away when dreaming of the final result. Selecting luxe products will drive up your total cost and while it may seem necessary to select premium finishings and fixtures to achieve a high-end look, there are plenty of cost-effective materials that still pack a design punch without exceeding your budget.
These homeowners spent $175,000* to convert their 80m2 garage into a two-bedroom rental unit. (JAN 2022). By opting for a minimalist monochrome colour palette and simple materials throughout, they were able to splurge on a marble benchtop and sleek appliances to create a well-balanced design while protecting their investment. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, no expenses were spared when bringing this idyllic 70m2 home to life. With a wrap-around patio, an impressively architectural Scandinavian-inspired interior, and steel gabled roof, the $360,000* the price tag was completely justifiable as this was the forever home where the owners planned to spend their retirement. (JUN 2022)

Want to take advantage of your under-utilised garage?

We offer free no-obligation consultations for you to discuss your goals, budget, and timeline surrounding your garage conversion. Our proven 5-step approach to renovations includes a costing phase during which you’ll receive a fixed quote for your project. But before taking the plunge, get in touch with a local Refresh Renovation Consultant to arrange a consultation. 
*Costs are shown as an indicative guide of what previous projects have cost. The costs of renovating a home are rising each year as material and labour costs increase. For an estimate/quote on your specific project, please consult your local Refresh Renovations specialist to find out more about our planning, design and build process.
**All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.

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All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.

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