Survey: Homeowners choose aesthetics, not value on remodeling and interior design projects

PALO ALTO, Calif., May 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Even as new and existing home sales and prices climb, homeowners are prioritizing aesthetics before profit, according to a recent Houzz & Home Survey conducted among users of the Houzz app and website. Houzz is the leading online platform for home design and remodeling, with more than four million unique users each month.

Among homeowners planning to build, remodel or decorate in the next two years, 86 percent cited "improving the look and feel of the space" as an important driver for remodeling projects, while only 47 percent cited "increasing home value." The gap between these priorities was consistent across all income levels and demographic groups.

Homeowners say they are more likely to cut back in other areas, such as vacations and other big-ticket purchases, than to delay or decrease the budget for their home improvement plans. 

"We expected that in this economy Americans' highest priority would be increasing home value, but instead we found people are focused on pleasing themselves, not the next owner," said Liza Hausman, vice president of marketing for Houzz. "Homes today are doing double or even triple duty as workplace, stay-cation, gym and more."

Take out a loan to get that beautiful home?

"No way," say 70 percent of today's homeowners.

They'd rather cut back elsewhere or do some of the work themselves.

In fact, even upscale homeowners are taking a hands-on approach to building, remodeling and decorating projects. The survey found that while 45 percent of homeowners at upper income levels ($150,000+) are choosing to hire an architect, interior designer, general contractor or another remodeling or decorating professional to complete a project in its entirety, an equal number of them are combining professional help and DIY efforts, a proportion only slightly smaller than the 49 percent taking this combination approach in lower income brackets.

Kitchens and bathrooms are the most popular remodeling projects among Houzz users, with 48 percent of respondents planning a bathroom remodel, and 45 percent redoing a kitchen in the next two years. Midwesterners have the highest budgets for kitchen and bath remodels at $30,500 and $13,600 respectively, while the South is allocating the least at $23,800 and $11,600.

The Houzz & Home Survey analyzes the remodeling and decorating project history and plans among Houzz users in the U.S. and Canada, motivational drivers behind these projects, homeowners' plans for hiring remodeling and design professionals, the factors that go into selecting a service provider and the impact of the economy on residential decorating and remodeling plans.

Other Key Findings:

  • In the next two years, 72 percent of homeowners surveyed plan to decorate or redecorate, 40 percent plan to remodel or construct an addition, while 10 percent are planning to build a custom home.
  • Custom homes are popular in the South, where a whopping 21 percent of Jackson, Mississippi homeowners surveyed are building the home of their dreams from scratch.
  • 57 percent of Houzz homeowners planning to complete a project in the next two years will hire a general contractor, 35 percent a kitchen or bath professional and 32 percent will hire a carpet or flooring professional.  Thirty percent are planning to hire an architect, 26 percent an interior designer and 24 percent a landscape architect or designer.
  • About half — 52 percent — say they will save money by completing some projects themselves.
  • The largest projects in terms of average spend in the last five years were custom home builds ($577,000), complete home remodels ($193,000), pool additions or replacements ($34,000) and kitchen remodels ($25,000)
  • 6 in 10 Houzz homeowners hired a general contractor in the past five years, and half hired a carpet or flooring professional. Windows and kitchen and bath professionals were each hired by 28 percent of respondents, while architects and landscape professionals were each hired by 24 percent of respondents.

The Houzz & Home Survey was emailed to registered users of the Houzz app and website in February 2012. Results are based on 29,127 respondents (87 percent homeowners, 13 percent renters). Edge Research conducted the survey.

About Houzz

Houzz (www.houzz.com) is the leading online platform for home remodeling, providing inspiration, information, advice and support for homeowners and home improvement professionals through its website and mobile applications. Houzz features the largest residential design database in the world, articles written by design experts, product recommendations, a vibrant community powered by social tools, and information on more than 1.3 million remodeling and design professionals worldwide who can help turn ideas into reality. @houzz_inc

Loading