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U.S. Home Remodeling at the Tipping Point

The most recent Remodeling Sentiment Report shows that an increasing number of homeowners plan to start their remodeling projects in the next 12 months, but only if the economy picks up.

Sunnyvale, CA, February 24, 2012 --( "The Spring 2012 U.S. Remodeling Sentiment Report shows that homeowners have growing optimism that they will be able to start their remodels this year because the economy will continue to improve, giving them the confidence they need to start work," said Dan Fritschen, founder of "The graph comparing private residential spending versus the Sentiment Report indicators illustrates a close correlation between spending and homeowner sentiment during the downturn, followed by a period where the indicators are split as homeowners wait. It is likely that remodeling expenditures will increase this year as the economy improves, but they will be nowhere close to the spending levels of 2007."

Remodeling general contractors are likely to experience an improvement in business first as respondents to this most recent survey indicated that almost 70 percent plan to hire a general contractor to remodel their home, whereas in the past fewer than 65 percent reported the same. Likewise, interest in doing some work themselves to remodel has declined from 64 percent to 56 percent. "This shift away from homeowners doing some work on their own is more likely due to a temporary disparity in economic confidence. Those who feel more comfortable with the economy now are the ones who are also less likely to work on their own homes," Fritschen speculates. "As the economic recovery expands, more do-it-yourselfers will be remodeling and the percentage who hire others to do the work versus the percentage who do it themselves will return to past levels."

Bathroom renovation has grown in popularity as 57 percent of respondents now say it is part of their plans. Kitchen remodeling likewise is of more interest with 50 percent of homeowners saying that their kitchen will be remodeled compared to previous surveys when just 45% included a kitchen remodel in their plans. The average estimated cost to remodel and add on to the respondents' homes was $72,000 as estimated by the remodel cost estimating calculators.

Low home equity - just $117,000 on average for respondents this year compared to $170,000 in 2007 -- combined with the difficult economy are the primary roadblocks to a pickup in the remodeling industry. "Once homeowners feel the economy is really getting better, the industry will pick up as there is a lot of pent-up demand for remodeling, renovations and additions," Fritschen said. "Homes aren't self-repairing, so delaying maintenance projects like new roofs, siding, painting, flooring, etc. can only be delayed for so long. Likewise there are great investments that homeowners can make in insulation, replacement windows and solar power that really do pay for themselves, but before more homeowners will make that investment they must overcome their concern over the economy."

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Remodel Or Move
Dan Fritschen

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