Homeowners Today Opting to Renovate Over Moving

Many homeowners would rather remodel or improve their residences than move, at least that is the sentiment according to recent findings from the American Housing Survey (AHS). 

From 2009-2011, homeowners spent $359 billion on improvements to their residences, according to the survey’s infographic. On average, homeowners spent a median of $3,200 on improvements to their homes during this time. 

Sponsored in part by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the survey tracked how much homeowners spent on various renovations, from bathrooms and bedrooms, to kitchens and recreation rooms. 


Homeowners spent an average $2,432 on bathroom renovations, $2,500 on bedrooms, $5,000 on kitchens and $3,000 on rec-rooms.

Well over half of homeowners made improvements to their residences, or 57% of the 76.1 million total owner-occupied housing units recorded in the survey.

A significant portion of these renovations were even taken on by homeowners themselves. 

Of the 119 million remodeling projects that occurred during the three year time period, data show 44 million were taken on by “do-it-yourselfers.”

The largest share of remodeling activity related to appliances and major equipment, consuming 35% of the total renovations. These were closely followed by flooring, paneling and ceiling projects, which represented 32%, with windows and doors representing 20% of all activity. 

Home improvements, according to AHS, exclude “routine maintenance,” which is defined as regular repair activities necessary for the preventive care of the structure, property and fixed equipment items.

Written by Jason Oliva

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  • I guess remodeling is the reason why HECMs for Purchase have had such a low acceptance in the real estate purchasing and senior communities or so we will be told as HECM purchase transactions still seem to be going nowhere.

    • Hi Cynic,

      I also wonder how many counselors mention them when they discuss the option of selling and moving. I have this discussion with all of my clients, however it is one of the harder concepts for people to understand. When they do, some seriously consider it.

      I still think one of the problems with the HECM for Purchase is that no one is seriously marketing it to seniors who are looking to move. If I were a broker, I would be looking for people who are planning to relocate to another State and really marketing this product to them. However, I am a counselor and don’t do that.

      Frank J. Kautz, II
      Staff Attorney

      Community Service Network, Inc.
      52 Broadway
      Stoneham, MA 02180
      (781) 438-1977
      (781) 438-6037 fax
      FrankKautz@csninc.org –work
      Frank@Kautzlaw.com –private

      • Frank,

        The HECM for Purchase has proven itself to be a better marketing tool than serious product. As a product, there has been far too much attention paid to it than it merits. As a marketing tool, there are no statistics or other analysis about its usefulness.

        The percentage of fixed rate Standards used in HECMs for Purchase started at less than 36% and immediately went to just over 89% and then up to over 97%. Who in their right mind would have imagined those stats in fiscal 2008 when HECMs for Purchase were added to the law. Those percentages seem more than ridiculous especially in light of how much more revenue these loans paid out to lenders, brokers, and originators. What makes the situation worse is hearing originators claim that they did not feel as if the loss of the fixed rate Standard would lower HECM for Purchase endorsements.

        Why in the world would counseling go along with this ridiculous outcome? The stats are available to everyone online at the HUD website. Some of us in the industry were furious over these stats while most of those doing HECMs for Purchase just wished the background noise would just go away.

        Well, the very worst of all possible scenarios occurred. The MMI Fund got wrecked by fixed rate Standards. So where are they today?

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