Seventy-three percent of homeowners say they plan to renovate this year, up 26 percent from a year ago, according to a survey conducted by LightStream, an online lending division of SunTrust Bank. Homeowners plan to spend more on projects, too—an average of about $9,000. That marks the highest amount since the survey began in 2014, and it’s 32 percent more than last year.
The most popular remodeling projects include outdoor space (41 percent), the bathroom (37 percent), and the kitchen (31 percent). Survey respondents say that if money wasn’t a factor, they would remodel their kitchen (42 percent), followed by replacing carpet with other flooring (41 percent), and then remodeling the bathroom (39 percent), according to the survey.
Homeowners appear to be more focused on creating a space they love than increasing the value of their home. Twenty-seven percent of respondents say that personalization was their number one motivator for investing in a home renovation, followed by increasing the value of their home (14 percent), improving a home for resale (7 percent), and preparing for a major life event (4 percent), such as a new baby or retirement. “Regardless of their age, we found that most consumers are focusing their home improvement projects to reflect their personal lifestyle, comfort, and interests,” says Todd Nelson, senior vice president of strategic partnerships at LightStream.
Financial stress, however, can hinder the renovation process, Nelson adds. Some of that stress is due to improper budget planning for materials and labor prior to starting a project. The majority of homeowners say they are paying for their home improvement projects by tapping into their savings (60 percent), credit cards (32 percent), or a home improvement loan (10 percent).