CivicScience | This Is Not a Drill: The Race to Renovate Is On

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This Is Not a Drill: The Race to Renovate Is On

Image Credit: Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

For many homeowners, spring doesn’t just offer a chance to clean—it offers the opportunity to break out the power tools and start the house projects again. Renovations took off last year as people scrambled to put in decks or pools in the hopes of socializing responsibly amid the pandemic. A rush for indoor space also occurred. Bolstered by low interest rates, home prices soared as buyers sought comfortability and distance, with sellers flipping their houses into more desirable property.

Now experts are predicting another banner year for home sales, and the pandemic isn’t over. As we enter another year, it’s likely many people will want to make their space as inviting as possible—either for buyers or themselves. With warmer weather for these projects just around the corner, CivicScience decided to check in on homeowners’ 2021 renovation plans.

Right now, 41% of homeowners are looking to renovate in the next six months. This is up three percentage points from last summer and seems to be related to a longer trend from the beginning of 2020, shortly before the housing market took off. It also seems like homeowners are willing to spend a little more this year. A recent survey indicates 28% of people planning home improvements anticipate spending $15,000 or more.

At the same time, only 3% of homeowners say they’ll be taking out a home equity line of credit soon. As more vaccines are administered and warmer weather blows in, this sentiment may improve.

Still, whether they hope to get their houses ready for the market or simply want a nicer place to enjoy social distancing, a number of households will be fixing their places up. Fewer want to tackle this work themselves, however—36% compared to last year’s 41%. The more capable might have already completed their renovations earlier in quarantine, while others learned they just didn’t have the chops: households that are hiring professionals rose four percentage points from last summer.

It’s difficult to pinpoint how much the pandemic has affected home improvement plans, or in what way. Being stuck at home seems like it would fuel projects people had been putting off. There’s nowhere to go, you’ve seen everything on TV, and that guest bedroom still hasn’t painted itself—why not get to work? Except those who are planning renovations tend to be a decent bit less concerned about social distancing or staying away from public places.

Renovators are also more likely to think social distancing will end sooner rather than later. It might appear homeowners would take up renovations to make their places more comfortable now that we’re all spending so much time at home, but the responses don’t suggest that as much.

Finally, as with last year, Home Depot may see slightly more of its customers planning renovations. 

While people aren’t particularly enthused about making large purchases at the moment, and renovators aren’t generally thinking about spending more time in their homes, plenty of households are planning home improvement projects this year, and more are looking to hire contractors to do them. Even better news, the trend seems to be heading upward. If the housing market proves to be as bananas as last year, more homeowners could be enticed to join the scramble. Be sure to check back here for further insights as 2021 unfolds.

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