Study Cites Home Buyers’ Impact on Remodeling


Buyers of new and existing homes have a disproportionately large impact on the home improvement market, according to a recent study into the remodeling habits of American homebuyers.

The study, conducted earlier this year by the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI), one of the nation’s foremost authorities on trends and economic forecasting for the home improvement industry, contains important implications for both professional remodelers – including kitchen and bath specialists – and manufacturers of home-related products.

“The first step in capturing a significant portion of this lucrative market segment is to fully understand the customer,” said Fred Miller, managing director of HIRI. “With the data from this study, retailers, manufacturers and service providers will have much better insight on how to effectively market to these very important homeowners.

“Clearly, those who do the best job of serving this market will be very successful,” Miller added.

The proprietary study, conducted in March, examined the behavior of approximately 600 recent purchasers of new homes and 600 purchasers of existing homes. The homeowners were polled about what home improvement projects they are undertaking, what motivates their actions, where they purchased the products needed to complete the projects, and where they go to get information on these projects.

Key findings of the study include the following:

  • “House Appeal” is the leading motivator for undertaking home projects.
  • Sixty-six percent of new homeowners undertake at least one home remodeling project.
  • Fifty-seven percent of those respondents plan to do at least one project in the next year or two.
  • Recent movers account for higher average spending levels.
  • Homeowners who have lived in their home for zero to two years spend an average of $2,300 yearly on their home.
  • Homeowners in place three to five years spend an average of $2,000 annually
  • Those living in their home more than 10 years spend an average of $1,700 per year.
  • Men lead in initiating projects for a home that is currently being sold.
  • Women lead in initiating projects for a current home.
  • Women lead in initiating planning for future projects, although an increasing number of decisions are jointly made.

There has been overall growth in the use of professionals to handle remodeling projects in homeowners’ current homes. And the motivation to hire a professional depends on the size of the project, as well as the desire on the part of the consumer to be sure the project is handled correctly.

The HIRI study also concluded that nearly half of those who sell an existing home undertake remodeling projects to ready it
for sale, with the primary goal being to increase the sales appeal of the house.

In fact, the study noted, 61% of the respondents undertook a remodeling project done prior to listing the home, with another 24% initiating the project after listing the home, but prior to receiving an offer, and 12% undertaking the work after an offer is made.

The study further revealed that:

  • Kitchens, baths and bedrooms are the most popular targets for remodeling projects.
  • Painting and flooring are the major remodeling activities.

The Tampa, FL-based HIRI is a membership-based, independent, nonprofit organization of manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and allied organizations in the home improvement industry. Its membership represents more than 70 of the leading firms in the home improvement industry.