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.
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:
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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