Most Popular Home Improvement Projects Amid COVID

Stuck at home, homeowners are displeased with their surroundings and funneling money they would have normally spent elsewhere into their homes. Over the past year, home improvement projects have surged and are showing no sign of slowing down. According to a survey from Axiom, a Minnesota-based marketing firm, 90 percent of 1,000 surveyed homeowners are planning to spend the same time or more on home improvements in 2021 compared to 2020. HomeAdvisor’s most recent State of Home Spending Report also found that home spending averaged $8,305 in 2020, up by $745 from 2019. How is that money being spent? What projects are the most common?

Following are the most popular survey responses from Axiom. Note that respondents were able to select multiple types of projects and the percentages do not equal 100 percent:

  1. Yard/Landscape: 35%
  2. Bathroom: 31%
  3. Kitchen: 27%
  4. Bedroom: 26%
  5. Deck/Patio: 25%
  6. Office: 16%

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says that traditional home renovation projects, like kitchen and bathroom renovations, remain popular but the pandemic has spurred a rise in “lifestyle” renovations. People are spending more time at home and are investing in making the space more functional. Instead of going to the beach, people are entertaining themselves at their pool or on their deck. Instead of going to the office, people are working from their homes. Instead of the gym, people have been getting creative in basements and garages. The types of home improvement projects homeowners are embarking on reflect the quarantine lifestyle change.

How Much Are People Spending?

Axiom asked survey respondents how much they are likely to invest inn home improvement projects in 2021. Here’s what they came up with:

  • Up to $500: 16%
  • $501 to $1,000: 20%
  • $1,001 to $2,500: 22%
  • $2,501 to $5,000: 20%
  • $5,001 to $10,000: 13%
  • More than $10,000: 9%

People are spending more on their homes not only because of shifting financial priorities, but also material shortages and high labor costs. Supply constraints are raising prices, causing delays, and stifling economic recovery for the construction industry. It’s difficult to come by some materials which limits the work contractors and individuals are able to do. This obstacle is expected to remain for the foreseeable future, despite earlier guarantees from mills for a swift return to normal.

Who’s Doing the Work?

Another question Axiom asked its survey takers is how they were planning to complete their 2021 projects. They were able to select multiple answers, so responses do not total 100 percent. They answered as follows:

  1. DIY: 50%
  2. Hire a professional contractor: 31%
  3. DIY with some professional help: 25%
  4. DIY w/a family member: 19%
  5. DIY w/a friend or neighbor: 5%
  6. Other: 2%

By age, 57% of respondents between the ages of 19 and 55 said they planned to do a project themselves compared to 39% of those 56 or older. Only 5% of those older than 55 considered themselves DIY experts which might explain the age disparity in DIY. On the topic of perceived expertise, they found that women are more likely to hire experts while 83% of men consider themselves to be experts. The survey did not include any data on actual expertise. Ultimately, 56% of projects will utilize a professional contractor in some way.  As home improvement projects continue, make sure your clients are protected through every step of the process. Check out our Real Estate page to learn more.