Consumer Project Planning in Home Improvement: 1Q 2021

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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:

  • Although inter­est has dropped off slight­ly com­pared to the first quar­ter of 2020, home­own­ers are still think­ing about doing more work on their homes.
  • Though down from last year, Q1 of 2021 is still much high­er than his­tor­i­cal norms.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • After a time of low­er focus, there is now a report­ed increase in the mas­ter bed­room and bath­room projects.
  • 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.
  • 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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