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Home Remodeling Trumps Moving According to Houzz Survey

May 22, 2014

With the exception of Millennials, the majority of U.S. homeowners (66 percent) who are remodeling plan to stay in their home for the long term, according to the third annual Houzz & Home survey with more than 135,000 respondents in the U.S. among the 190,000 respondents globally.

The survey also found that 53 percent of U.S. homeowners say they are remodeling to increase the resale value of their home but have no plans to move in the next five years, and just 16 percent plan to sell their home in the next two years. While homeowners remain cautious about the economy, three quarters said their local housing market has improved, and there was a significant drop in the percentage of homeowners who said funding their renovation project or staying on budget was a challenge this year. Those who report a significantly improved local housing market are more than twice as likely to be planning to remodel than they are to move in the next two years.

When it comes to buying a home, high home prices are particularly prohibitive for homeowners in the west with San Jose, Calif., and San Francisco topping the list. Millennial homeowners are more likely than other age groups to aspire to move to a new home in the next five years, and 36 percent of them are remodeling to increase home value to sell down the line.

Cash remains the dominant source of financing across all age groups and areas of the country, with 80 percent of homeowners saying they paid for their last remodeling project out of pocket. Millennials were more likely to borrow from friends and family to pay for their recent project compared to other age groups, and are more likely to have used a credit card to finance their last remodeling or building project.

“The investment that people make in their homes is not only a financial one, it’s also a very emotional one,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. “Rather than opting to move, the majority of Houzz homeowners undertaking renovation projects are choosing to do so because they want to stay in their home, not because they can’t afford to move. Significantly more homeowners on Houzz are able to fund their remodeling projects this year compared with last year, and we see them investing to create a home that meets their needs now and for the long-term.”

Bathrooms and kitchens are the most popular renovation projects, with 26 percent of respondents planning a bathroom remodel or addition and 22 percent planning a kitchen remodel or addition in the next two years. Kitchens continue to receive the highest share of dollars overall, with U.S. homeowners spending an average of $26,172 to remodel this space. Homeowners in the northeast and west, who tend to spend more on their renovation projects and have larger project scopes overall, spent an average of $32,155 and $29,411, respectively on their kitchens.

Additional key kitchen and bath findings include:
  • Thirty-nine percent of homeowners planning projects in the next two years intend to hire a kitchen & bath pro.
  • Thirty-two percent of homeowners completed a bathroom addition or alteration in the past five years, and 27 percent completed a kitchen remodel.
  • Average spending for a bathroom addition or alteration is $13,941, whereas a kitchen remodel is $29,819, for those who hired a pro.
  • Those who remodeled their kitchens were most likely to replace their countertops, appliances and add new lighting/get electrical work done.
  • Those who remodeled their bathrooms were most likely to replace their flooring, plumbing, add new lighting/get electrical work done, get new tile work or replace their vanity/cabinetry.
  • Nineteen percent of homeowners plan to purchase a kitchen appliance/appliances over the next six months.
The study also found that homeowners are ‘doing more with less,’ with 76 percent saying that they retained their home’s existing footprint in their last remodeling project. Those with homes larger than 4,000 square feet are twice as likely to make additions of 1,000 square feet or more.

Other key U.S. findings include:
  • From initial research to the start of construction, homeowners spend six months to a year planning for big-ticket renovations projects, including custom home builds, complete home remodels and kitchen remodels/additions.
  • Top challenges for homeowners renovating are finding the right products, defining their style, making decisions with spouse/partner and educating themselves. Millennials had more trouble defining their style and making decisions with their spouse or partner than other age groups.
  • Homeowners who plan to hire a professional service provider over the next two years are most likely to hire a general contractor and a carpet/flooring professional.
  • In addition to paint, respondents are most likely to purchase accessories, lighting and interior furniture in the next six months.
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