Homeowner and DIY Project Activity Trends

3 Homeowner and DIY Project Activity Trends To Kick Off 2023

Feb 21, 2023

If you are a home improve­ment man­u­fac­tur­er or retail­er, under­stand­ing home­own­ers’ behav­ior pat­terns and sea­son­al project trends can help you adjust your busi­ness strat­e­gy for success. 

The Home Improve­ment Research Insti­tute (HIRI) con­ducts a quar­ter­ly sur­vey of 2,000 home­own­ers to fol­low their cur­rent and planned home improve­ment projects. The results fuel our Home Improve­ment Project Activ­i­ty Track­er, a pow­er­ful tool for the home improve­ment prod­uct industry.

We ana­lyzed the most recent data from the last three months of 2022 to cre­ate a clear pic­ture of home improve­ment project focus areas, home­own­ers’ cost con­sid­er­a­tions and more. Here’s what we found:

1. Outdoor Projects & Kitchen Remodels Lead

Typ­i­cal­ly, sea­son­al project data tells us that as fall fades into the win­ter months, home­own­ers wrap up their out­door projects in favor of indoor improve­ments, redi­rect­ing atten­tion toward the inte­ri­or of their homes. 

Outdoor Projects in Q4 2022

Sur­pris­ing­ly, this wasn’t the case in Q4 2022, as more home­own­ers (28%) opt­ed to con­tin­ue work­ing out­side, even though, in Q3, only 13% said they planned to do so.

As the cost of a home remains high, and mobil­i­ty rates decline, exist­ing home­own­ers are opt­ing to expand liv­able spaces out­doors and new home­buy­ers are sac­ri­fic­ing inte­ri­or square footage and opt­ing to invest in out­door liv­ing spaces much the same to feel they have enough room to stretch their elbows.

More Kitchen Projects Completed in Q4 2022 Than Were Planned

The unex­pect­ed stay­ing pow­er of out­door projects didn’t damp­en home­own­ers’ inten­tions to begin work­ing on their kitchens over the past few months. In fact, kitchen projects remained con­sis­tent­ly high through­out 2022 and peaked in Q2, typ­i­cal­ly the prime time for out­door projects. This could have been due large­ly to con­trac­tor back­logs delay­ing kitchen project starts.

18% of those sur­veyed in Q3 of 2022 stat­ed they planned to remod­el or update their kitchens in Q4 of 2022, while 25% actu­al­ly took on these projects by the year’s end.

Sim­i­lar to the end of Q4 2022, intent to con­duct a kitchen repair or remod­el project remain a top focus for home­own­ers over the next few months. Most respon­dents (17%) plan to make small ren­o­va­tions and cos­met­ic changes to their kitchens in Q1 2023. These projects most­ly con­sist of paint­ing, redo­ing floors and/​or replac­ing old countertops

Bathroom Projects Also High In Demand

Beyond out­door projects and kitchen projects, 13% of home­own­ers con­duct­ed a project in the mas­ter or pri­ma­ry bath­room in Q4 of 2022. A bulk of the work antic­i­pat­ed in this area of the home for 2023 projects will be cos­met­ic as well, includ­ing paint­ing, floor­ing and chang­ing out plumb­ing fixtures.

2. Home Improvement Project Cost Trended High in 2022

As we ana­lyzed medi­an costs by project type through­out the year, some intrigu­ing trends emerged:

  • In Q3, the home exte­ri­or shell (sid­ing, gut­ters, win­dows, etc.) medi­an cost spiked to $3,000, dou­bling the already-high medi­an costs of Q1 and Q2 ($1,500). While that cost went down slight­ly in Q4, it was still fair­ly high, at $2,000, to end the year.

  • Kitchen projects — a con­sis­tent­ly pop­u­lar cat­e­go­ry — saw fair­ly mod­er­ate fluc­tu­a­tion in project costs through­out 2022. In Q1, the medi­an cost was around $1,500, drop­ping to $1,200 in Q3 and shoot­ing back up to $1,500 at year’s end.

  • Bath­room costs were spo­radic over the year, with both primary/​master bath­room project costs and secondary/​guest bath­room project costs fluc­tu­at­ing between $500 and $1500.

  • The low­est medi­an cost of all project types was in the yard/​garden/​landscape cat­e­go­ry, even though this was typ­i­cal­ly the most pop­u­lar project type. The aver­age project costs in Q2 and Q3 — the like­li­est time of year for out­door projects — were low­er than dur­ing the start and end of the year.

3. Hiring Professionals Remains in Demand

Con­sis­tent with past data, rough­ly one-third of projects over­all are com­plet­ed entire­ly by pro­fes­sion­als, while near­ly half of projects are tru­ly DIY.

When a home­own­er reports they intend to com­plete a project as a DIY­er, that expec­ta­tion large­ly holds true. When asked in Q3 of 2022, 44% of home­own­ers said they would do projects on their own in Q4 of 2022, and in Q4 of 2022, 46% of respon­dents report­ed they DIY’d the project. Only 2% of home­own­ers who planned to hire a pro­fes­sion­al con­trac­tor for their projects instead opt­ed to com­plete the work them­selves. The data shows min­i­mal changes from Q3 expec­ta­tions to Q4 projects completed.

As the trend of home­own­ers com­plet­ing projects them­selves con­tin­ues into 2023, home improve­ment indus­try pro­fes­sion­als can main­tain author­i­ty in the indus­try by becom­ing edu­ca­tors and advi­sors through blogs and social media posts. By show­cas­ing your exper­tise, you can help home­own­ers look to you as a reli­able resource and a trust­wor­thy brand if they get stuck dur­ing the project or do decide to hire some­one to com­plete oth­er projects down the road.

Know Your Market and Know Your Customer

HIRI mem­bers gain access to the full report and com­plete data sets from our quar­ter­ly Home Improve­ment Activ­i­ty Track­ers. This includes the medi­an spend per project and the per­cent­age of projects that are R&R, redec­o­ra­tion or small ren­o­va­tion ver­sus major ren­o­va­tion — across 19 project categories.

The full report is 177 pages unpack­ing cat­e­go­ry-by-cat­e­go­ry data and insights. Become a HIRI mem­ber for full access.

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