New Home Improvement Trends

Remodeled Bathrooms, New Appliances And More Upgrades Homeowners Are Spending On

Jamie Gold Contributor
Real Estate I write about real estate, residential and wellness design.

What are homeowners spending on when it comes to their properties? Home project resource firm HomeAdvisor’s annual State of Home Spending Report shares some insights on that topic, from solving home emergencies to keeping the home’s systems in working condition to adding stylish room remodels. Here are eight of the report’s key takeaways.

1. Overall, consumer spending on home improvement rose 17% from 2017 to 2018. “Main contributing factors to this increase are the growing cultural focus on design aesthetics and quality of life, and newer and better home improvement tools,” the study concluded.

2. “2018 was a robust year for consumer spending on home services, with average total spending of $9,081 across all home service categories.” Home improvement spending specifically, (not counting maintenance or emergency repairs), averaged $7,560. However, that figure varies regionally, and is much higher in more expensive markets, including Massachusetts, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Maryland, where cost of living is higher, as well.

3. While homeowners spent more on home improvement than home maintenance –for every dollar spent on home maintenance, homeowners spent an average of five on home improvements – they completed more than three times as many maintenance projects in the same period. Maintenance needs also drove completion of home improvement projects: “Homeowners list replacing or repairing damage, defects and decay as the number one reason for spending on home improvement projects.” More than a few broken appliances have led to full kitchen remodels, designers will tell you.

4. “Over the past year, room remodels have been the most popular home improvement project, with bathrooms topping the list for the second year in a row. Looking forward, homeowners are prioritizing new appliances, roof replacements and hardwood refinishing in addition to room remodels.” Other top choices, the study noted, including “landscaping, exterior painting or veneers” (siding), “offer homeowners relatively affordable ways to add value and curb appeal to their homes.”

5. There were notable generational differences, with kitchen remodels decreasing in popularity with age. Millennials had the highest number at 17% and seniors (referred to as the silent generation in the study) at 7.4%. “This is probably attributable to the dominance of the kitchen as the entertainment hub of the home, a resurgence of interest in cooking among millennials thanks to social media, the generation’s interest in health, and the millennial need for a high return on investment; minor kitchen remodels provide a better ROI than any bathroom remodel.”

6. There are gender differences as well as generational differences, the study showed: “Women report completing an average of 9% more home improvement projects than men and a median spend about 7% higher than men; however, men have reported spending an average of 17% more than women. In other words, women consistently spend the average, while men tend to be cheaper overall. But when men do decide to make significant home expenditures, they are more extreme.” (Men are also nearly twice as likely to call themselves the ‘sole decision maker’ more than women do, the study noted.)

7. “We asked respondents to pick from a list of primary reasons for their home improvement and remodeling projects, with options ranging from improving comfort and family happiness to preparing a home for sale. In no case did a respondent list family or personal comfort and happiness as their chief reason for tackling home improvements.” (That result is likely to surprise thousands of professional designers around the country.)

8. Looking at projected results for 2019, HomeAdvisor predicts: “We expect new exteriors and hardwood floor refinishing to increase in popularity. Homeowners are also suggesting that they’ll be doing more room remodels, installing new appliances and updating HVAC systems and roofs.”