Report: Home Remodeling Is Surging

January 30, 2015

Home owners are remodeling their homes at levels that haven’t been seen in decades. In fact, the home improvement business could reach record levels this year, according to a new report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

What’s behind the increase? Potential trade-up home buyers are fixing up their existing homes for sale, federal and state subsidies are increasing the desire for energy-efficient upgrades, and landlords are sprucing up their properties to justify raising rents, the report notes. A strengthening job market is also helping to lead more home owners to take on home remodeling projects, following years of delaying projects.

Spending on discretionary home improvement projects jumped by nearly $6 billion between 2011 and 2013 -- the first rise since 2007, according to the report.

Some areas of the country are seeing even greater rises in home improvement expenditures. Washington, D.C., and Boston home owners are spending nearly $5,000 a year on average for remodeling; Las Vegas home owners are spending about $1,700, according to the report.

The top remodeling projects continue to target the kitchen and adding a new bathroom, but baby boomers also are increasingly retrofitting their homes for better accessibility and with age-in-place features. Also, more home owners are tackling home projects centered on energy efficient upgrades, such as for windows and heating and cooling systems.

Source: “Remodeling Helps Lift Housing Industry,” CNBC (Jan. 29, 2015)