Baby Boomers Are Making Home Renovation a Priority
June 17, 2020
Home renovation remains a popular activity for owners, particularly among older age groups. Baby boomers accounted for more than half of renovating homeowners in 2019, according to a newly released survey of more than 87,000 respondents by Houzz, a home remodeling and design website. Gen Xers (ages 40 to 54) trailed at nearly a third of home renovators and millennials (ages 25 to 39) were at about 12%.
Baby boomers tend to spend the most on their renovations—a median of $15,000 in 2019 on home renovation projects, the Houzz survey shows. Gen Xers spent $12,000 and millennials spent $10,000 on their renovation projects.
“Baby boomers, particularly those who have been in their homes for more than six years, are continuing to drive renovation activity and spend … as they pursue projects that will allow them to age in place for the next decade or more,” says Marine Sargsyan, Houzz senior economist.
Baby boomers were three times more likely to pursue a home remodeling project because, they say, they’ve intended to do so since being in the home. They also plan to stay in their homes for 11 years or more, which also might be guiding their desire to renovate and make it more comfortable or up to their tastes.
Among all generations, the most popular rooms to renovate remain kitchens and guest bathrooms. However, home offices are increasingly being added or upgraded by one in 10 homeowners in 2019. Millennials and Gen Xers were more likely to pursue a home office renovation project last year than baby boomers.
The Houzz & Home survey was conducted between Jan. 2 and March 5, before the coronavirus pandemic. When the survey was conducted, half of homeowners reported they planned to continue or start renovations this year at a median spend of $10,000. One-third of homeowners surveyed planned to make repairs.
“Subsequent surveys have shown that over half of homeowners who were in the midst of a project at the start of the pandemic were able to continue with renovations,” Sargsyan says. “That said, some homeowners have opted to delay certain elective renovations due to implications related to social contact, labor, and material availability, and personal discretionary spending. Maintenance and repairs, on the other hand, are more likely to proceed, especially when the need is urgent. Deferred maintenance will accrue during this period, setting the stage for a renewed burst of activity following the pandemic.”
Some additional findings from the survey:
- Planning takes time: Homeowners took the most time to plan out kitchen renovations, averaging 8.3 months. Master and guest bathroom renovation planning took 5.4 and 4.8 months respectively. Entry, foyer or mudroom renovations—despite the small square footage—took an average of 6.6 months to plan.
- High-tech focus: Technology is being woven into more renovation projects. The majority of those projects involve smart technology, which can be monitored or controlled from a mobile device or computer. Light fixtures and smart lights are a popular update as are home assistants, smart thermostats, and smart alarms or detectors. Security cameras led outdoor technology purchases, according to the Houzz survey.
- Tapping savings: Using cash from savings was the most common form of home renovation payment, used by 83% of respondents. Cash was commonly used in pricey projects—up to $50,000. The next most common source of funding was credit cards, which tended to be used for less expensive projects of between $1,000 and $5,000.
- Big spenders: San Jose, Calif., led the nation as the most expensive metro area in which to renovate a home. Homeowners spend double the national median spend--$26,000. Other cities boasting some of the highest expenditures on home remodels: Boston ($21,000) and Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego, and San Francisco (all at $20,000 each).
Updated: April 21, 2021