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"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," says Liza Hausman, vice president of marketing for Houzz. "Homes today are doing double or even triple duty as workplace, stay-cation, gym and more."
Project Plans by Type
Of today's homeowners, 70 percent do not plan to take out a loan to pay for that beautiful home. They'd rather cut back on vacations and other big-ticket items or do some of the work themselves than delay or decrease the budget for their home improvement plans.
Even upscale homeowners are taking a hands-on approach to building, remodeling and decorating projects. The survey found that while 45 percent of households at upper income levels ($150,000 per year or more) are choosing to hire an architect, an interior designer, a 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. That proportion is only slightly less than the 49 percent taking this combination approach in lower income brackets.
What Homeowners Plan to Spend (2012 to 2014)
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.
Project Plans by U.S. Region
Brown paint can = Decorate or redecorate
Blue house = Build addition or remodel
Gold builder = Build a custom home
In the next two years, 72 percent of homeowners surveyed plan to decorate or redecorate, 40 percent plan to remodel or construct an addition and 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. Percentages in other Southern cities (yellow dots on map): Houston, Texas, and Little Rock, Arkansas (18 percent each), Dallas (14 percent) and Austin, Texas (13 percent).
Of Houzz homeowners planning to complete a project in the next two years, 57 percent will hire a general contractor, 35 percent will hire 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 past five years were custom home builds ($577,000), complete home remodels ($193,000), pool additions or replacements ($34,000) and kitchen remodels ($25,000).
Six in 10 Houzz homeowners hired a general contractor in the past five years, and half hired a carpet or flooring professional. Window 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.
Key Drivers for Planned Projects