Consumer Project Intent: Q1 2021 Updates

Each quarter since 2012, Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) 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 homes and home improvement. The goal of these surveys is to better understand consumer project sentiment.

The results from the first quarter of 2021 are in. Here are a few key findings:

  1. Although interest has dropped off slightly compared to the first quarter of 2020, homeowners are still thinking about doing more work on their homes.
  2. Though down from last year, Q1 of 2021 is still much higher than historical norms.
  3. Planning incidence has been strong for more than a year. We expect planning to slow down slightly, as many long-standing projects have already come to completion in the past year.
  4. Maintenance/repair and design updates are the perpetual top motivators for home improvement. However, making the home more comfortable is also a common driver. If work-from-home and remote learning arrangements continue, comfort will become increasingly critical.
  5. After a time of lower focus, there is now a reported increase in the master bedroom and bathroom projects.
  6. DIY attitudes have a significant impact on project planning. Homeowners who are more confident in their DIY ability are planning more projects, even if they plan to hire a professional to complete the work.
  7. The coastal regions are leading the way in project planning, although for different reasons. For example, the Northeast, which has generally older housing stock and far less area to build a new property, relies more on remodeling and renovations to make homes more to homeowners’ liking.

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