HIRI Consumer Project Planning Q421 Hero

Home Improvement Consumer Project Planning: 4 Things to Know in Q4 2021

Dec 10, 2021

Each quar­ter since 2012, the Home Improve­ment Research Insti­tute has sur­veyed approx­i­mate­ly 3,000 home­own­ers for its Home Improve­ment Project Intent Track­ing Sur­vey. The sur­vey asks home­own­ers which of 32 dif­fer­ent home improve­ment project areas (if any) they are plan­ning in the next three months. It also explores to what extent they agree with state­ments about their home and home improve­ment. The goal of these sur­veys is to bet­ter under­stand con­sumer project sentiment.

The results from the fourth quar­ter of 2021 are in. Here are four things to know:

1. Home­own­ers are still plan­ning home improve­ment projects at high rates.

Typ­i­cal­ly, the fourth quar­ter of the year sees less project activ­i­ty com­pared to the sum­mer months. How­ev­er, 2021 end­ed strong with 76% of home­own­ers plan­ning on under­tak­ing at least one project in Q4. This is a sta­tis­ti­cal tie with the high­est plan­ning rates record­ed in the his­to­ry of the Project Intent Track­ing Survey.

HIRI Homeowner Project Planning Q42021

2. Out­side fac­tors could be influ­enc­ing activity.

Many indus­try onlook­ers expect­ed project growth to slow sig­nif­i­cant­ly or even reverse slight­ly as much of the U.S. recov­ered from the pan­dem­ic in 2021. How­ev­er, that has not been the case. Some fac­tors that could be con­tribut­ing to the con­tin­ued boom in project plan­ning include:

  • Car­ry-over demand from 2020 – Home­own­ers are now plan­ning projects they nev­er got around to or were pre­vi­ous­ly delayed by con­trac­tor timelines.
  • A boom­ing hous­ing mar­ket – Some poten­tial home­buy­ers are get­ting priced out of the mar­ket, inspir­ing them to remod­el their cur­rent home instead.

Unfin­ished homes on the mar­ket – Hous­es bought in today’s mar­ket are often not move-in-ready,” so new buy­ers must ren­o­vate to trans­form them into desired homes.

3. Main­te­nance and repair are top moti­va­tors for projects.

Most project plan­ners tend to pri­or­i­tize imme­di­ate improve­ment needs. The fourth quar­ter pre­sent­ed a slight uptick in the num­ber of light” project plan­ners (those plan­ning 1 – 2 projects in the quar­ter), some of whom can be attrib­uted to per­form­ing slight­ly more repairs.

4. A dis­crep­an­cy exists between planned and com­plet­ed DIY projects.

While most claim to have some affin­i­ty for DIY work (85%), only slight­ly more than 54% of projects are actu­al­ly planned as DIY. Addi­tion­al­ly, DIY work for com­plet­ed projects has his­tor­i­cal­ly hov­ered around two-thirds. This indi­cates that projects planned to be done pro­fes­sion­al­ly often either end up being done DIY or do not get done at all. This shift to DIY is like­ly relat­ed to cost and tim­ing: Either the cost for a pro­fes­sion­al exceed­ed what the home­own­er was capa­ble of or will­ing to spend, or they need­ed it done soon­er than what con­trac­tor time­lines allow.

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