Home improvement activity and spending hit 4-year high


Home renovation activity and spending has reached the highest rates reported since 2018, according to the eleventh annual Houzz & Home survey of nearly 70,000 U.S. respondents. More than half of homeowners renovated their home in 2021 (55%), compared to 53% in 2020 and 54% in 2019 and 2018. Following last year’s 15% growth in median spending, homeowners are reporting a further increase 20% of the median. renovation expenses at $18,000. This growth can be attributed to owners having higher budget projects (top 10% spend) increasing their investment from $85,000 in 2020 to $100,000 in 2021.

Home renovation activity continues in 2022, with more than half of homeowners planning to renovate (55%) and almost half planning to decorate (46%) this year. For the first time since 2018, projected homeowner spending rose to $15,000 for 2022 from $10,000 in the past three years, a 50% jump. Additionally, homeowners with higher budget renovations (top 10% of spend) plan to spend $75,000 on projects in 2022, compared to $60,000 in 2021.

“Market fundamentals, including a limited and aging housing stock, continue to propel the home improvement market,” said Marine Sargsyan, economist at Houzz. “Homeowners are clearly committed to investing in their homes despite high product and material costs driven by supply chain disruptions, and are exploring various sources of financing. This is especially pronounced among recent buyers, who rely heavily on money from previous home sales to finance their plans and spend significantly more than the national median.

Recent buyers*, who accounted for 10% of renovation homeowners in 2021, spent nearly double the national median ($30,000), outpacing short-term** and long-term*** homeowners ($19,000 and $15,000, respectively). Recent buyers with higher budget projects (top 10% of spend) invested $175,000, compared to $100,000 invested by short-term owners and $90,000 by long-term owners. This is likely attributed to the larger projects they undertake, which average three to four rooms, as well as household systems, such as electrical and plumbing.

The share of homeowners who rely on cash from their savings to finance their renovation projects fell by seven percentage points in 2021 (76%), after remaining stable for the previous three years (83%, each year). In contrast, homeowners who finance renovation projects with credit cards gained six percentage points (35%). Savings and credit cards remain the main forms of payment, regardless of housing tenure. As expected, recent buyers and short-term homeowners were more likely to rely on cash from previous home sales (42% and 19%, respectively), while long-term homeowners were more likely to use loans properties guaranteed in 2021 (17%).

Demand is growing for home professionals

More homeowners sought professional help with their renovations in 2021 than the previous year (89 vs. 87%, respectively). Homeowners relied on specialized service providers (49%) more than other professionals for help with projects requiring electrical and plumbing expertise. That said, construction and design professionals were hired by a greater proportion of owners in 2021 (38 and 20%, respectively) compared to 2020 (36 and 18%, respectively). With recent buyers tackling more projects than their peers, it’s no surprise they’re also the most likely to hire professional help (93%), compared to short- and long-term homeowners term (88% each).

Rise in investment in interior rooms

Median spend increased across nearly all interior room renovations in 2021. Kitchens, which remain the most popular interior room to upgrade and the room that commands the most spend, saw their spend increase by 25% compared to 2020 ($15,000 vs. $12,000, respectively). ). Interior rooms that have seen the most dramatic increase in spending include guest bathrooms (38%), laundry rooms (33%), living rooms (33%) and guest bedrooms (28%) .

Securing the grounds

Last year, homeowners renovating spent a quarter more on security systems. In fact, exterior security systems are now nearly three times more popular than they were in 2015 and the second most frequently installed exterior upgrade behind lighting (17% and 22%, respectively). Exterior security system upgrades are most popular among short-term owners, followed by recent buyers and long-term owners (21%, 20% and 14%, respectively).

* Recent buyers are those who have not yet moved into their home or who have been there for less than a year.

** Short-term homeowners refer to homeowners who moved into their home between one and five years ago.

***Long-term owners refer to owners who moved into their home six or more years ago.


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