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Hot Remodeling Projects

March 09, 2020

Which house remodeling projects are homeowners tackling?

We delve into which home renovation work will (likely) be undertaken in 2019. Topics covered in this article include home renovation costs and how they’re funded, which residential improvements top home remodeling project lists and insight into which demographic groups are undertaking which renovation projects.

Financing the Project

There is a discrepancy between how much homeowners expect to pay for their project and how much renovation costs are.

Almost 2 in 3 homeowners estimated that their project would cost less than $15,000 but the national average cost for a mid-range bathroom remodel is $20,420 and the national average mid-range kitchen renovation cost is between $22,507 and $66,196. This means that homeowners are likely to be $5,420 short for the typical bathroom remodel and between $7,507 to $51,196 short for the average kitchen renovation.

Does this mean consumers are taking out home improvement loans? Well, no. Most homeowners use cash to fund smaller projects like appliance purchases, plumbing fixtures, water heaters, security systems and insulation. The 5 most common ways that homeowners pay for their projects include:

77% Cash from savings

9% Other

5% Credit card or retail store charge card

5% Home equity loan/mortgage refinancing

4% Homeowner insurance settlement

Gen Xers are the most likely generation to have enough saved up to cover the entire project, followed by Millennials. About 1 in 4 Baby Boomers were financially ready for their renovation project.

Key Insight: Homeowners are unlikely to use credit to finance their renovation projects. However, the average homeowner is likely to underestimate how much the project will cost.

Popular Projects

More than half of homeowners (52%)  plan to make home improvements within the next year. One in 4 plan to complete a project within the next 3 months.

While the majority of homeowners (53%)hired a professional to complete their home projects, 7 in 10 of those projects were exterior projects. In other words, homeowners are more likely to tackle indoor renovation projects themselves.

Almost 3 in 4 Millennials and over 50% of Gen X chose to DIY their reno project rather than hire a professional.

What projects are they planning? Over 1 in 3 homeowners plan to do kitchen and bath remodeling.

The most common types of interior renovation projects are the home bathroom remodel, kitchen upgrades and complete kitchen renovations The most popular interior DIY projects include:

69% Closet renovation

56% Convert basement to living area

56% Refinish hardwood flooring

51% Upgrade kitchen

50% Convert attic to living area

50% Bathroom reno

46% Upgrade insulation

40% New wood flooring

39% New master suite

36% Add new bathroom

35% Kitchen reno

11% Replace HVAC

Pet projects are also popular. More than half (56%) complete their own pet-related renovation. The most common pet-related projects include fenced yards, laminate floors and dog doors. It is also more common to hire a pro to install flooring or a fence than other projects, which also include built-in pet beds, cat litter closet, built-in pet dishes and pet washing stations

Who is doing pet renovation projects? Single males (71%) and unmarried couples (69%) are the 2 most likely demographic groups to DIY a pet project.

Key Insight: Homeowners are most likely to handle their own renovation projects when they are indoor projects. The kitchen and bathroom are the most likely rooms to get renovated.

Smart Home Projects

Are homeowners including smart technology in home renovations?

It depends on the price-55% of consumers said that cost is a primary consideration when purchasing smart devices.  

It also varies by age demographic. About 4 in 10 Millennials have smart home technology while one-third of Gen Xers do. Baby Boomers are the least likely to have it. Interestingly, 49% of consumers ages 18-34 worry that they are too dependent on technology.

The positive associations with increasing technology in the home include easy, safety, connected, in control, fun and trustful. On the other hand, negative associations with increasing technology in the home include intrusive, isolated, dependent, addictive, fearful and lazy.

Key Insight: Younger homeowners are the most likely to have smart home technology but are concerned about being overly dependent on technology.

Aging-in-Place Projects

The older generations are the most likely age demographic to be homeowners. There has been a 60% increase in the number of homeowners ages 55 and up in the past 20 years. Also, homeowners ages 55 and older are responsible for 50% of all home improvement project spending.

75% of National Association of Home Builders remodeler members saw an increase in aging-in-place projects (for elderly homeowners who remain in their homes living as independently for as long as they are able to) within the past 5 years. The top reasons consumers do aging-in-place projects include planning ahead for their future needs, acute age-related disabilities, living with older parents and acute non-age related disabilities.

Bathroom projects are most common among the aging-in-place population. In order of prevalence, the

most popular projects include:

89% Grab bars

85% Install higher toilets

82% Curb-less shower

59% Widen doorways

53% Add lighting

49% Ramps/lower thresholds

42% Add full bathroom to entry level

37% Add bedroom to entry level

36% Expand half into full bathroom on main level

35% Install non-slip floors

Key Insight: Older homeowners are most likely remodeling their bathrooms.

Demographic Recaps

We covered a lot of renovation information in the above sections. We will summarize key findings about 3 different age groups here.

Millennials: This group is most likely to have smart technology in their homes. They are also most likely to do DIY projects themselves but just about 1 in 4 have saved up enough cash to cover all the costs.

Gen X: About half of Gen X will tackle their own home renovation projects. One-third has smart home technology in their homes and almost 4 in 10 have saved up enough money to fund their project.

Boomers: This group is most likely to own a home, most likely to hire a professional, least likely to have smart home technology and least likely to handle their own DIY projects. Like the Millennials, about 1 in 4 have saved up enough cash to cover all the costs. They are also probably renovating their bathrooms.

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