Wednesday, April 3, 2013

U.S. homeowners think it’s a good time to renovate

PALO ALTO, Calif. – April 1, 2013 – Significantly more U.S. homeowners are moving forward with renovation projects compared to this time last year, according to the second annual Houzz & Home survey.

A majority of the homeowners surveyed believe now is a good time to remodel (53 percent), and 58 percent of those planning projects in the next two years will hire professional help. The study also found that three-quarters of homeowners believe that now is a good time to buy a home.

Together with the recent U.S. Commerce Department report showing the rate of single-family home construction is at its highest level in four and a half years, the results of this study point to a strengthening economy, housing and renovation market.

The 2013 Houzz & Home survey garnered more than 100,000 responses from the Houzz community of 14 million monthly unique users. The study yielded detailed data at the national, regional and metropolitan area level.

The number of homeowners who say they will delay projects because of the economy has dropped to 45 percent from 52 percent last year, and homeowners are more likely to cut back in other areas, such as vacations and other big ticket purchases, rather than delay or decrease budgets for their home plans. While improving the look and feel of the space is still the key driver for recently completed projects (83 percent), the number of homeowners who remodeled to increase their home value has increased to 54 percent from 47 percent in 2012.

“We’ve collected an unprecedented volume of data from the community, and we are pleased to share the findings with everyone looking to renovate or decorate their home,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz.

Bathrooms and kitchens top America’s renovation project list again this year, with 28 percent of respondents planning a bathroom remodel or addition, and 23 percent planning a kitchen remodel or addition in the next two years.

In terms of dollars spent, kitchens command the lion’s share. Over the last five years, nearly four in ten home improvement dollars have gone into kitchens and survey data indicates future spending is likely to follow the same trend.

Over the last five years, homeowners on average spent $28,030 to remodel their kitchens; however spending varies widely at different budget levels. Homeowners spent an average of $54,942 nationwide for a high-end kitchen, $22,390 for a mid-range kitchen and $7,133 for a lower-budget kitchen.

The study also found that homeowners renovating at the higher-end were more likely to go over budget than those doing more modest renovations, though a significant number reported going over budget at all project levels. Fifty-six percent of those doing a high-end renovation, 42 percent of those who did a mid-range renovation and 31 percent of those whose renovation was lower budget also spent more than expected on their projects.

Other key U.S. findings

• Spending more time in a room does not necessarily correlate with decorating dollars. Homeowners report spending the most time in their family/TV rooms, but not the most money there.

• Nobody was willing to admit to spending significant time in their bathroom – but apparently the time we do spend there is worth significant investment. The percentage of money spent on kitchens and bathrooms far exceeds the percentage of time spent in these spaces.

• A majority of the homeowners surveyed who are planning to complete a project in the next two years will hire a general contractor (58 percent), and a third a kitchen/bath (36 percent) or carpet/flooring professional (34 percent). Twenty-three percent plan to hire architects and 22 percent interior designers.

• When it comes to hiring a professional for their project, 67 percent of homeowners surveyed rated a “personality I can work with” as a 5 (very important) on a 5-point scale.

• Thirty-four percent of U.S. homeowners cited making their home more energy efficient as a key driver for completing their most recent project.

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