Houzz Haz It: American Homeowners Want Style More Than Profit

According to Houzz.com’s recent survey, kitchens and baths, like this one at 3625 Bryn Mawr, will continue to be popular rooms that homeowners remodel.

By Liza Hausman, VP of Marketing at Houzz.com

Even as new and existing home sales and prices climb, homeowners are prioritizing aesthetics before profit, according to the annual Houzz & Home Survey conducted among users of the Houzz app and website. The annual survey surfaces building and remodeling trends in the U.S. and Canada. Among the findings:

- Livability trumps value. Among homeowners planning to build, remodel or decorate in the next two years, 86 percent cited “improving the look and feel of the space” as an important driver for remodeling projects, while only 47 percent cited “increasing home value.” The gap between these priorities was consistent across all income levels and demographic groups.

- Saying “no” to loans. Only 10 percent of homeowners are planning to take out a line of credit to finance their projects.

- Even upscale homeowners taking a hands-on approach. The survey found that while 45 percent of homeowners at upper income levels ($150,000-plus) are choosing to hire an architect, interior designer, general contractor or another remodeling or decorating professional to complete a project in its entirety, an equal number of them are combining professional help and DIY efforts, a proportion only slightly smaller than the 49 percent taking this combination approach in lower income brackets. For upscale homeowners this is less about budgeting and more about enjoying the process.

- Southerners remain bullish on custom homes. Homeowners in southern states are twice as likely as those in other regions to have built a custom home in the last five years, and to be planning one in the next two years. A whopping 21 percent of Jackson, Mississippi homeowners surveyed is building the home of their dreams from scratch.

- Kitchens and bathrooms are the most popular remodeling projects, with 48 percent of respondents planning a bathroom remodel, and 45 percent redoing a kitchen in the next two years. Midwesterners have the highest budgets for kitchen and bath remodels at $30,500 and $13,600 respectively, while the South is allocating the least at $23,800 and $11,600.

Other Key Findings:
• In the next two years, 72 percent of homeowners surveyed plan to decorate or redecorate, 40 percent plan to remodel or construct an addition.

• 57 percent of homeowners surveyed planning to complete a project in the next two years will hire a general contractor, 35 percent a kitchen or bath professional and 32 percent will hire a carpet or flooring professional. Thirty percent are planning to hire an architect, 26 percent an interior designer and 24 percent a landscape architect or designer.

• The largest projects in terms of average spend in the last five years were custom home builds ($577,000), complete home remodels ($193,000), pool additions or replacements ($34,000) and kitchen remodels ($25,000)

The Houzz & Home Survey was emailed to registered users of the Houzz app and website in February 2012. Results are based on 29,127 respondents (87 percent homeowners, 13 percent renters). Edge Research conducted the survey.