Pandemic a Factor in Increased Home Improvement Spending

Pandemic a Factor in Increased Home Improvement Spending

Homeowners spent $13,138, up from $9,081 last year
A father and son planting a tree

With many consumers’ lives revolving around their homes this year due to the pandemic, some are cutting back in spending in other areas to allot more dollars to home improvement.

Homeowners spent, on average, $13,138 on home-related services this year — up from $9,081 last year, according to the State of Home Spending Report by home improvement website HomeAdvisor.

With nearly 86% of Americans spending more time at home because of the coronavirus outbreak, nearly two-thirds — 63% — report that they have noticed more areas in their living space that could use a little work.

Home improvement spending led the way

Most dollars spent on the home were earmarked for home improvement spending with respondents allotting, on average, $8,305. That was followed by:

  • $3,192, on average, for home maintenance services, such as landscaping and cleaning
  • $1,640, on average, for emergency repairs

Some consumers are finding that their evolving lifestyles are causing them to re-think what they want in a home. For example, 7 in 10 respondents said they are cooking at home more because of the pandemic. As such, a kitchen remodel was found to be the most desired home improvement project, as 27% of respondents said a kitchen remodel would be at the top of their list if they were given $10,000 to make home upgrades.

With more people working remotely during the pandemic, 50% of respondents said they currently have more work-from-home needs than they had in the past. Likewise, 40% of respondents said they had new home entertainment needs given the changes that have transpired since the pandemic began.

Consumers shifting budgets

Since the pandemic has led to canceled travel and celebration plans, some consumers are finding they are saving money on purchases they would have made in more typical years.

That has led some respondents to take their newfound savings and direct them toward home services.

For example, 52% of respondents said they have shifted some of their spending allotted for dining out to home improvement projects instead. Along the same lines, a third of consumers said they used savings on transportation costs during the pandemic such as gas, auto insurance, parking and public transit fees for home projects.

With the pandemic leading 72% to skip taking a summer vacation, according to a ValuePenguin survey, many consumers likely saved big on travel costs. The HomeAdvisor survey found that nearly half of respondents — 48% — used travel savings to have work done on their homes.

The pandemic also impacted the home improvement industry by leading to some delays in getting projects completed. Nearly a third of planned projects — 30% — were either not started or not completed because of the COVID-19 crisis. Also, the No. 1 reason given for projects being delayed or going over budget was because products or materials took longer than expected to arrive, which could have been impacted by business disruptions during the pandemic.

Methodology: HomeAdvisor surveyed 5,000 Americans including homeowners, renters, and people living rent-free. The survey took place between July 21-23, 2020.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.