HOSTS NEALE WHITAKER AND ANDREW WINTER ARE KEEPING IT REAL IN NEW PROPERTY SERIES
Queensland v NSW, Coke v Pepsi, Leno v Letterman, Holden v Ford. Andrew Winter v Neale Whitaker. The duo’s rivalry is real on new series Love It or List It Australia, but viewers can rest assured it’s friendly fire.
The local version of a global franchise pits Selling Houses favourite Andrew against The Block judge Neale as they attempt to sway the homeowners’ final decision to stay or go.
“It’s a friendly competition between Mr Winter and myself … and the homeowners,” Neale says.
“Andrew, of course, is Team List It, I’m Team Love It.
“We filmed in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and each episode is a real Australian family, a real Australian home and a real Australian budget.
“The houses are too large or small for their needs, too dated or just not functioning properly and in each scenario one member of the couple wants to stay and one wants to move.
“My job is to try to fix it through a renovation – using their money – and persuade them that the home of their dreams is actually right under their noses.
“Andrew’s job is to lure them away. He’s very competitive.”
While Team List It rarely triumphs in global offshoots of the show, Andrew suggests the Australian scoreboard is in for a shake-up.
“Neale says he’s not competitive, but he’s let my car tyres down, he’s put in offers on properties to stop us inspecting,” Andrew says.
“There’s a genuine rivalry there … you just can’t help it.
“We don’t need any fake drama, we don’t need producers making anything up.
“The first episode we shot we don’t know the homeowners’ final decision and it was really nerve-racking. We stood there waiting and we both nearly had little wees.”
Andrew relished filming the fresh format and hopes audiences appreciate the authenticity of the drama.
“I would never claim to be a Top Gear, but Top Gear was so successful because of the natural rivalry of the people involved in it,” he says.
To further raise the stakes, the hosts aren’t playing with hypotheticals and “TV money” – their decisions hit the homeowners’ hip pocket.
“The smallest budget was $75-80,000 and the largest was $250,000,” Neale says. “There was one particular house where we literally gutted the whole house and started again. There are a lot of damn good renovation ideas and there’s a lot of property porn as well.”
Andrew, who lives at Sanctuary Cove, believes the stay-or-go dilemma faced by homeowners on the show will be widely relatable, but particularly pertinent on the Gold Coast.
“We’ve all been there, but this is quite a new dilemma for the Gold Coast because the majority of our housing stock is really ’80s and ’90s onwards,” he says.
“Up until probably five years ago the most any of our houses needed was a coat of paint and new flooring.
“That stock is now getting to an age where it needs a lot more. If it hasn’t been touched since 1987 it probably needs new kitchens, new bathrooms, new floors, possibly new windows … it needs so much done to it.
“That’s going to start to hit the Gold Coast market now. The renovation market starts to turn things around.”
Andrew says the trend is exasperated by limited supply.
“The Gold Coast is getting to a point now where all that inner section is really full, so all the major development is on the northern end or inland on the other side of the motorway.
“That area in the middle becomes prime space.
“Suddenly if you want to be (the beach) side of the motorway in that strip, you’re going to be more restricted.
“You haven’t got 1000 blocks of land waiting for you.
“That’s why when the next slump comes – and it always does – we’ll slump more like a big city than a regional area.”
Love It or List It Australia was filmed over six months earlier this year, with each stand-alone episode following a single storyline to its conclusion. “This isn’t normal makeover TV where things are done in three days or a week – it’s over two to three months, but still managed very efficiently for TV purposes,” Andrew says.
“We actually follow through and do it – it’s serious.
“Neale does full home extensions. He’ll do anything to beat me.”
Love It or List It Australia episode one is available from Foxtel’s on demand library or streamed on demand on Foxtel Now. Episode two airs October 4 at 8.30pm on Lifestyle.
Love It or List it Australia hosts Neale Whitaker and Andrew Winter.