HomeAdvisor Study Reveals Spike in Home Improvement Spending

05/09/2017 06:22 pm ET

This year, homeowners are opening their pocketbooks wider when it comes to home improvement. According to HomeAdvisor’s 2017 True Cost Report, homeowners tackled more home improvement projects from February 2016 through February 2017 than in the 12 months prior. And, they spent almost 60 percent more for a typical household in a single year.

Various conditions are fueling the surge in home improvement. Primarily, homeowner equity has doubled since the bottom of the housing cycle — in turn making homeowners feel wealthier and more confident, giving homeowners easy access to home improvement loans and allowing millions of previously upside-down mortgage holders to sell their homes.

As a result, more Americans are improving their current homes or moving into new homes. And the increase in real estate activity is triggering home improvement activity on both the seller and buyer sides of the equation (i.e., the seller, who is getting the house spruced up to show, and the new owner, who wants to add their own personality to the newly purchased home).

From a regional standpoint, homeowners in the West and Northeast are spending the most on home improvement. And, because they’re accruing some of the highest equity, they are also taking out the most home equity loans to complete projects.

From a generational standpoint, baby boomers are doing more home projects — and spending more money, both in aggregate and on a per-household basis — than any other group of homeowners. The millennial generation is trailing close behind.

While millennials have largely been priced out of the new-home market, many can afford to buy older homes in need of updates and repairs. The gradual movement of this group into homeownership will continue to fuel the storm of home improvements already under way.

Further contributing to the surge in home improvement spending is the fact that people are feeling confident enough in their finances to take on larger projects — including major renovations, bathroom makeovers, kitchen updates, spa showers, hot tubs and other discretionary upgrades. So, instead of fixing broken tiles, they’re replacing their entire tile floors (and splurging on upgraded materials). Instead of refacing kitchen cabinets, they’re installing new cabinets, and new countertops as well.

Here’s a national breakdown of the most-requested home improvement projects over the past 12 months, according to HomeAdvisor’s 2017 True Cost Report.

  • Remodel a bathroom $9.275
  • Paint or stain a home’s exterior $2,647
  • Install central A/C $5,250
  • Build an addition $40,825
  • Build a deck or porch $6,935
  • Install concrete patios, walks & steps $2,443
  • Install drywall $1,639
  • Install asphalt paving $4,169
  • Build a garage $25,008
  • Remodel a basement $18,807

For more information, read the full report here.

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