Consumers are spending more on remodeling projects, but their priorities are shifting, post pandemic. That’s the finding of two recent surveys that looked at home renovation spending and homeowner wish list items.
The first survey, which was conducted by Houzz and polled some 70,000 site members, showed a 14% increase in major kitchen remodeling spending in 2020 compared to 2019, with continued growth expected for 2021. Indeed, some 56% of those surveyed said they plan to renovate their homes this year. Popular projects, according to the Houzz survey, include outdoor spaces, smart home technology, home offices and closet renovations.
The second survey, conducted by Realtor.com, showed that post-pandemic, consumers are increasingly interested in quiet home spaces, upgraded kitchens, updated garages and re-imagined outdoor spaces, with pet-friendly features and home offices also seeing increased interest.
The Realtor.com survey also showed that, post pandemic, the majority of home buyers polled are also taking into consideration the needs of extended family when shopping for new homes, whether as permanent residents or as part time or frequent visitors.
That’s not surprising, as COVID-19 caused a seismic shift in many households, with college students forced to leave campus and return to their parents’ homes due to remote learning, older parents often moving in with their grown children, either to help with grandchildren who were required to be home full time when schools were closed, or to ensure they would be cared for during a time of extreme isolation, and unemployed people often moving in with family members to share expenses. The backlash against nursing homes beleaguered by COVID outbreaks also led to more baby boomers bringing home elderly parents who had previously been living in these facilities.
Add in the addition of new four-legged family members (pet ownership hit record high levels during the pandemic), and the fact that people are increasingly working from home full or part time for the foreseeable future, and it’s clear that many households look very different than they did a mere 16 months ago.
While life is gradually returning to some semblance of normal, it’s clear that there’s still enough uncertainty about the future that home buyers want to be sure they have the flexibility to accommodate sudden changes or new additions. Additionally, those engaging in remodeling want to ensure that their renovations provide privacy for different family members sharing the home, spaces for work or remote learning, features for their new pets, upgraded security systems and smart technology that allows them to use their homes more efficiently.
In some cases, that means expanding the home’s footprint (there’s nothing like being trapped in your home for a year to make that outdated “bigger is better” adage start to look good again!), but in cases where this isn’t feasible, repurposing outdoor space, re-imagining a garage or transforming a spare bedroom into a hybrid office/guest room can still add flexibility without requiring a full-scale remodel (which can be particularly challenging due to long delays and staffing shortages).
While it’s too early to say whether the shift in home priorities will be lasting changes, but with remodeling sharply on the rise, it’s clear that designers need to keep these in mind as they plan for the busy remodeling year ahead.