Home improvement spending likely to rise this year, study finds

Home improvement spending likely to rise this year, study finds

Home construction or home improvement concept
Photo (c) Witthaya Prasongsin – Getty Images

Homeowners are expected to spend generously this year on a wide range of home remodeling projects. A recent study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies projects that spending on home improvements will rise between 7.6% and 23.0% in 2022.

The study predicts that spending will increase the most in the nation’s largest housing markets, where property values continue to surge.

“Record-breaking home price appreciation, solid home sales, and high incomes are all contributing to stronger remodeling activity in our nation’s major metros, especially in the South and West,” said Sophia Wedeen, a research assistant in the Remodeling Futures Program at the Center. 

Wedeen says the largest gains in home improvement spending this year are projected to occur in Tucson, Ariz.; Riverside, Calif.; Phoenix; Austin; San Antonio; and Las Vegas.

Bathrooms and kitchens get the most attention

When homeowners invest in home improvement projects, they tend to focus on two rooms. A survey by Family Handyman found that 35% of consumers focused last year’s projects around a bathroom. Another 27% made improvements to the kitchen.

Amy, of Collinsville, Texas, said she installed a new shower in her bathroom and was generally pleased with the process.

“Working with the rep was great as well as the installation process with Kohler,” Amy wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. “I love the new shower. It’s more spacious and easy to clean.”

But homeowners can run into trouble if they don’t plan for all contingencies. Joy, of Norwalk, Iowa, installed a Kohler walk-in tub. Everything was great, she said, until it was time to fill it.

“We’ve had a little problem because we didn’t update our water heater,” Amy told us. “I have to fill the tub and it takes about an hour to fill it. So, we’re getting estimates on getting a tankless water heater so that I don’t have to boil water. I have not used it that much but the times that I used it, it did help my neck a lot.”

Supply chain issues

Like many homeowners, Martin, of Henderson, Nev., ran into supply chain bottlenecks when he was remodeling his kitchen while using Build.com.

“After ordering and fully paying for the appliances the salesperson never informed us that the range top was not actually available,” Martin wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. “Two months later I was informed it would not be available for six to eight months.”

Supply chain issues could be a nagging problem that delays some projects this year, according to Carlos Martín, the project director of the Remodeling Futures Program. In addition to national supply chain issues, he says the problem may be felt more severely in some local areas than others.

Labor may also be a headwind since the rise in demand for remodeling services may create backlogs among remodeling contractors.