Owners Spend More to Spruce Up Newer Homes Than Older Homes

July 17, 2019

Homeowners are spending more to improve their homes, not necessarily on home maintenance.

Homes may be aging in the U.S., but don’t assume the age of a home is prompting more spending. A new report from HomeAdvisor, a home remodeling resource, finds that homeowners spent $3.70 less for every year since a home was built. That means the owner of a 100-year-old home could spend an average of $370 less on emergency home projects per year than the owner of a new home, the study notes.

Researchers say the growing cultural focus on design aesthetics and quality of life as well as newer and better home improvement tools may be leading to the uptick in home improvement spending.

Room remodels have been the most popular home improvement projects, with bathrooms topping HomeAdvisor’s list. Homeowners also are prioritizing new appliances, roof replacements, and hardwood refinishing.

Overall, owners spent an average of $9,081 on home improvement, maintenance, and emergencies for 2018, according to the report. Spending per household on home services is up 17% in 2018 from 2017, according to HomeAdvisor’s newly released report, the “State of Home Spending Report,” which focuses on home service spending.

Motivations for home improvements can differ depending on age group. For example, millennials were more likely than other generations to say they completed home projects to increase their home’s value. Baby boomers and Generation X, on the other hand, tended to be more motivated to “modernize” their homes. Millennials and the silent generation also were motivated to “improve aesthetics and design.”

"It makes sense that first time home buyers complete more home improvement projects and spend more money on home services," says Mischa Fisher, HomeAdvisor's chief economist and author of the report. "Many of the millennials who bought a home in the last few years are seeking upgrades to increase the value of their homes and improve aesthetics. This focus on return on investment from millennials is likely due to a combination of typical youthful focus on wealth accumulation and their comparatively poorer financial situation driving a hunger to recover relative to their older cohorts."

Homeowners are spending more on home improvement projects than home maintenance projects, the report showed. For every $1 spent on home maintenance, homeowners spent an average of $5 on home improvement projects.

Homeowners should put aside money for house emergencies, financial experts say. One in three homeowners say they’ve completed an emergency home project, with the average cost about $1,206, over the past year, according to the study. Owners who live in areas prone to extreme weather events reported the highest spending from housing emergencies.

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