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Houzz & Home survey shows home improvement spending on the rise

In Houzz & Home's 10th annual survey, Houzz found that home renovations have increased by 15 percent over the past year, with kitchens, outdoor spaces, home offices and technology receiving the most attention.

The increase in renovations is only expected to continue, with 56 percent of homeowners surveyed planning some type of renovation project in 2021, the highest percentage since 52 percent in 2017.

In 2020, the survey shows median home renovation spending at $15,000, with higher budgeted projects increasing from $80,000 per project in 2018 and 2019 to $85,000 last year.

Houzz Senior Economist Marine Sargsyan said, "While the pandemic initially caused concern in the home improvement industry, this past year many homeowners finally had the time and financial resources to move forward with long-awaited home improvement projects."

"This pent-up demand, along with other long-standing market fundamentals such as accumulated equity, will allow homeowners to continue to invest in their current homes rather than face skyrocketing prices in the housing market."

Reasons for the increase in home improvements vary.

44% said they finally had the time to undertake the project
36% said they finally had the financial means to do so
25% decided to renovate and improve rather than move
18% said they made renovations to accommodate recent lifestyle changes.

While Baby Boomers have historically led the way in renovation activity and spending, Gen Xers are closing the gap in 2020.

Last year, Baby Boomers (those born 1946-1965, 52% of remodeling homeowners, down from 55% in 2019) spent an average of $15,000, while Gen Xers (those born 1966-1980, 32% of remodeling homeowners, up from 30% the year before)

They increased their spending by $2,000 to a median of $14,000.

Millennials continue to account for 12% of renovated homeowners, remaining unchanged at a median of $10,000 per project.

Renovating Areas

While interior remodeling remains the most common project (68%), outdoor areas continue to grow in popularity, reaching 57% by 2020.

The most popular projects include landscaping and upgrades to open decks, porches or balconies.

Homeowners are also investing more in remodeling smaller areas of the home that may have once been considered a luxury and are now a necessity.

Demand for home office projects increased by 4% to 14% of projects, with spending on these projects increasing by 10% to $1,100 in 2020

Smart home technology continues to grow in popularity, with products such as streaming media players and TVs showing the greatest growth.

However, a larger percentage of renovated homeowners are choosing to use smart products for their outdoor spaces, with 19% choosing security cameras, 7% adding light fixtures, and 3% adding speakers or sound systems.

87% of respondents hired professional helpers for their renovation projects in 2020, typically hiring more than one professional per project.

While professional service providers were the most common (49%), construction (36%) and design-related professionals (18%) were also important.

Where do homeowners spend the most money?

San Jose, CA tops the top 10 metro areas with the highest median renovation spending ($30,000) in 2020 and has maintained its lead since 2017.

Homeowners in California and Florida - San Francisco ($21,250), Los Angeles ($20,500) , San Diego ($20,000) and Miami ($20,000) - are in the top five for renovation spending in 2020.

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