Most Americans Would Rather Remodel Their Home than Buy a New One

BY Rachel Cagle
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Across the country, people are largely happy with their current homes, and would rather stay in them and make updates than move. The latest Zillow Housing Aspirations Report finds that 76% of Americans would rather use a set amount of money to upgrade their home to meet their needs instead of as a down payment on a new home.

This is especially true for older or retired Americans. Eighty-​seven percent of people who are 55 years or older, and 91% of retirees, would renovate their homes instead of using the money for a down payment on a new one.

Overall, homeowners are generally happy with their current homes, according to the 2018 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends, with 83% saying that they love their home. Most homeowners (63%) don't have any plans to sell their homes. The top reasons for not moving are that they love their home and they don't want to deal with the hassle of moving.

About 37% of Major Home Remodeling Project Starters have the personal goal for this year to reduce debt to increase savings, according to AudienceSCAN. This group can accomplish their goal a number of ways, such as renovating their house instead of buying a new one. Or using the internet to find coupons or discount codes, like 50.9% of this audience has done within the past 30 days (likely on Google, the preferred search engine of 89.4% of this group). Within the last six months, 36.3% of this group has used a mobile device to redeem or download a coupon as well. This presents opportunity for advertisers since these consumers are 86% more likely than other adults to find advertising on their mobile apps useful to them.

The preference to adapt a home to their needs instead of selling it and buying a different home could be contributing to the ongoing inventory shortage most markets are facing. Nationally, the number of homes for sale has fallen on an annual basis for 43 straight months, although the pace of the decline has slowed in recent months. 

Another factor that may be affecting the decision to move or renovate a home is rising mortgage rates. Since the beginning of the year, rates have risen by more than 90 basis points, and homeowners who have a low mortgage rate may not want to lose that affordability advantage by buying a new house with a higher rate.

"Even in a seller's market, simultaneously buying and selling is an exercise in frustration. Add to that the emotional history between you and your home, and it's no wonder low inventory has been in a self-​fulfilling cycle," said Zillow Director of Economic Research and Outreach Skylar Olsen. "Homeowners may hesitate to sell because of limited options for them as buyers, but by holding on to their homes, they are themselves contributing to low inventory."

Across the 20 metros surveyed, 80% of the respondents said they would choose to stay in their current home and make necessary updates.

Renters and young Americans between 18 and 34 years old are among the groups who are most likely to say they would use the money as a down payment.

Services in the home improvement industry vertical can target Major Home Remodeling Project Starters through digital advertisements. According to AudienceSCAN, 59.8% of this audience took action last year after receiving an email advertisement and 49.8% reacted to text ads or ads they saw on their mobile smartphone apps. They're also 28% more likely than other adults to click on text link ads on websites. Don't forget the previously mentioned power of coupons though. Last year, 68% of this audience took action after receiving coupons via direct mail.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.