Remodeling Cycles and Your Home Improvement Clients

Does the home remodeling industry align with the general housing trend? Or should you prompt your home improvement professionals to be advertising during the recessionary times? A look at the Remodeling Report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University can help.

In the past ten years, here's how homeowners allocated their home improvement dollars:

  • Interior/​Exterior Replacements (roofing/​siding/​window/​door/​insulation/​flooring/​ceiling)  27.3%
  • Room Additions/​Alterations (includes decks/​porches) 22%
  • Kitchen/​Bath 18.4%
  • Improvement to Property (replacing/​adding garage/​pool/​patio/​fencing/​septic) 16.4%
  • Replacements to Systems/​Equipment (plumbing/​heating/​air conditioning/​appliances) 10.4%
  • Disaster repairs 5.3%

The study also shows that high-​end remodeling of bathrooms and kitchens is considered discretionary by consumers. When the housing market is strong, consumers spend more on these projects. Another category of related spending, system and equipment replacement, is more stable. Consumers tend to spend steadily on these projects and they also tend to use trade professionals such as plumbers and electricians for these projects.

When consumers take on home related projects, based on a ten year period of data, here's how the do-​it-​yourself spending breaks out:

  • Discretionary (kitchen/​bath improvements, room additions/​alterations) 43%
  • Systems and equipment 9%
  • Interior and exterior 21%
  • Other (garage/​decks/​porches, disaster, miscellaneous repairs) 27%

When consumers use professional contractors and trade people, here's how the spending breaks out:

  • Discretionary (kitchen/​bath improvements, room additions/​alterations) 32%
  • Systems and equipment 13%
  • Interior and exterior 29%
  • Other (garage/​decks/​porches, disaster, miscellaneous repairs) 26%

In general most of the home improvement budget spent by single family homeowners goes to paid labor. Here's how the numbers break out:

  • Professional or paid labor 86%
  • Supplies for DIY projects 14%

These numbers don't reveal startling new trends but should serve as talking points when you discuss a direct mail campaign with your home improvement clients.

[Source: Will, Abbe. Understanding Remodeling Cycles, Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University, August 2008]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.