Looking back over the experience of the COVID - pandemic, it is no surprise that homeowners are approaching home renovation with gusto. Being stuck within the same four walls of one’s home - working, eating, sleeping, teaching, entertaining and trying to maintain some semblance of sanity - constantly, for two years, has made post-pandemic activities feel like a breath of fresh air.
It's a different story for the professionals who assist homeowners in designing, planning and ultimately putting the hammer on the nails and the mortar between the brick. Their dark cloud has not cleared. Some of the effects of the pandemic - specifically supply chain disruptions that resulted in backlogs of building materials, appliances and the electronics needed for contemporary living - are still a part of every project estimate. Unfortunately, some experts on supply chain management feel this will be a challenge for the next decade. Plus, “The Great Resignation,” where millions of workers decided they would rather do something else, is also still a factor in the construction industry.
In an effort to put the future in perspective for both homeowners, who are ready to improve their residence, and the professionals who will be hired to complete these renovations, Houzz magazine commissioned the 2022 Houzz and Home Study. The results present a roadmap for renovations.
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First Consideration: Renovations at a Four-Year High
Despite lengthy wait times, supply shortages and reduced workers, homeowners appeared to be undeterred in their quest for an updated home, sweet home. According to the Houzz study, “More than half of homeowners (55%) renovated in 2021, up from 53% in 2020 and 54% in both 2019 and 2018. Activity did not slow down, which suggests that the costs and prices did not impact the decision to renovate.”
Most of these projects were for single-family dwellings, but the trend toward building-to-rent also impacted the renovation expenses.
Since renovation activities respond to the same laws of supply-and-demand as other businesses, this will likely translate to higher costs and longer waits for homeowners.
Second Factor at Work: Budgets Are Higher
The study highlighted some important news for budget-conscious homeowners. “More than half of homeowners (55%) plan to renovate in 2022, and half (46%) plan to decorate. And they are expanding the budget to do so. Likely considering the volatile prices of the past two years or so, homeowners’ planned spend for home improvement projects has increased for the first time since 2018. And it is a huge increase to boot: The median has been $10,000 for the past three years and is now $15,000, a 50% jump.”
The “Reno-newbies,” those homebuyers who recently purchased a residence, have a tendency to go over budget more often than short-term or long-term homeowners. The study notes three reasons for these overruns: “products or services were costlier than expected, projects were more complex than anticipated, and unexpected issues that needed to be addressed arose.”
Third Consideration: Projects Take More Time
That clock heard ticking on renovation sites is costing somebody money. Ultimately, the homeowners will bear it. This study pointed out that from planning to completion, renovation projects took an average of nine months in 2021. For remodels of interior rooms, the planning phase was nearly twice as long as the construction phase.
The kitchen remodel was the most time intensive. “Planning a kitchen remodel took an average of 8.6 months, while construction took 4.9 months. Building work for bathrooms and other interior rooms lasted a month less on average.”
Fourth Factor: Big Demand for Interior Room Reno
The kitchen continues to be the most popular room to upgrade and the price for a kitchen jumped 25% in 2021, according to the Houzz study. However, price increases for four other interior rooms jumped even higher: “guest bathrooms (38% increase), laundry rooms (33%), living rooms (33%) and guest bedrooms (28%).
“Even spending on primary bathroom remodels increased by almost 13% in 2021 among the 22% of homeowners remodeling this space. And the median spend on this space is higher than in the previous four years.”
Fifth Factor: Security Is Paramount
Those wildly popular doorbell cameras are a sign of the post-pandemic times. This report notes that homeowners are investing in feeling safe at home; they spent 25% more on home security systems in 2021 than in 2020. Outdoor security systems are now three times more popular than they were in 2015; they are now the second most frequently installed outdoor upgrade, with 17% choosing them, behind lighting (22%).
Working from home translated into a steady stream of deliveries - from critical documents to that new, more ergonomically designed office chair - and this had a security aspect as well. The Box Gobbler Delivery system from MB Sentinel, and available from Acme Brick, has become a must-have for remote workers.
Sixth Trend: Hiring a Pro
The overwhelming majority of homeowners who wanted a better space decided NOT to do-it-themselves. According to this study, “Nearly 9 in 10 homeowners (89%) relied on professional help for renovations and upgrades in 2021. Specialty service providers were the most frequently hired type of pros; nearly half of renovators hired these pros without the help of a construction manager. Among the 49% of renovating homeowners who brought in this kind of help, the three most popular types of specialty service pros are electricians (38%), air conditioning and heating specialists (37%) and plumbers (35%).”
General contractors are the most popular renovation experts. “Among the 38% of homeowners who brought on construction professionals in 2021, 72% hired general contractors — the most popular construction group by far. And 30% of renovators hired builders, 18% hired kitchen or bath remodelers, and 8% hired design-build firms.”
Renovation is Smart
Renovating a home can be a smart alternative to entering the high-stakes, extremely competitive home-buying market. With help from professional designers and builders, homeowners can turn an outdated structure into something more sustainable, and thus save on utilities, or a home that can accommodate multiple generations under one roof.
Ask your contractor about the wide array of home improvement products available from Acme Brick. Click here to get those creative juices flowing.