6 Key Insights from the 2014 Houzz & Home Survey
Industry research and surveys are an excellent way to gather current marketing opinion and trends, especially when they are directed at the end user – the homeowner.
One survey in particular that provides valuable insight into current construction and interior design trends is the Houzz & Home 2014 Marketing Survey, an annual survey of homeowners.
This year we learn why homeowners remodel, what they value most, how their projects are being financing and how they are searching for their design and construction partners.
The 2014 Houzz & Home Survey polled nearly 200,000 respondents, from every country in the world, making it one of the largest surveys of the residential remodeling and decorating activity ever conducted. It provide valuable insight into upcoming trends.
1. Motivated Homeowners
When it comes to remodeling and renovating a majority of homeowners are still motivated by improving the function, flow and aesthetics of the home.
Since 2013 there have been a few shifts in motivation. Appliance upgrades, organization, and energy efficiency are less important. “Millenials” – those born from 1980 to Early 2000’s – have their own “bracket” of motivations. This group views the home remodeling process as an opportunity to enhance the value of the property for resale value, not just personal enjoyment, and 36% plan to move within 5 years. This age bracket is also drawn to remodeling projects that “accommodate changing lifestyle needs” which could include home fitness, pools, and growing families, where changes in a family or lifestyle may change more regularly.
The age of the home also determines the level of motivation, and what projects get done. For example, the Northeast has a large percentage of homes that are 50+ years old, so homeowners are investing in essentials like roofs, siding, windows, central air upgrades and other structural components. Areas, like the South, where homes are 25 or less years old requires much less structural work, and homeowners may focus more on the function and aesthetics of the interior spaces.
And homeowners are spending an average of 6-12 months on their remodeling project from the time they begin researching to the time the project actually begins.
Remodeling motivation, and upgrading aging homes, indicates that new product selections should include higher quality products. These will have a lower cost of ownership, requiring lower maintenance and replacement costs. For those looking to resell, they will also have higher value. These products should also meet multi-generational needs associated with “aging in place”.
2. Renovation Trend Fueled by Consumer Confidence
2014 survey results continue to show that consumers feel better about the economy, giving them confidence to embark of home remodeling projects.
Consumer confidence levels remain high in most markets of the country, with the West, California Bay Area, Phoenix, Miami and San Diego at over 80% reporting improvement in the housing market. Those in the Midwest and Northeast report slightly lower confidence levels, remaining cautious about the timeless for full recovery.
Millenials are the least motivated and impacted by the economic climate, but findings show they embark on smaller projects, will spend less and also perhaps because they see the long term ROI on their investment, since many plan to resell.
3. Finding Product vs Funding
Recent consumer surveys have shown that funding was a big concern and/or obstacle to remodeling plans.
2014 shows that funding has become less of a concern, with 79-81% of all age brackets funding their remodeling project with cash/personal finances! Only 21-30% of projects are being funded by credit cards, and even less from borrowed money, loans, or refinancing.
So what IS the biggest challenge for homeowners embarking on remodeling projects?
Finding the right product was the top renovation challenge among all age brackets, and all areas of the country. There is also a growing concern, and interest in defining one’s personal style. The growth of home design websites like Houzz must play a big role in this development as people have greater access to inspiration! As we saw in 2013, homeowners also want to be educated, and empowered to be an active participant in the project.
4. Better Not Bigger
There will never be a shortage of large homes.
Take for example the proposed 92,000 SF castle in Edmond, Oklahoma, or the 90,000 SF villa for David Siegel in Orlando, FL. Don’t get me wrong, some things ARE better when they are bigger – kitchens, flat screen TV’s, wide plank hardwood floors – just to name a few. But in the grand scheme of a home remodeling project, over 70% of all respondents have not changed the square footage of their home since they first moved in.
Improving the function and aesthetics of a room, while making it more functional, doesn’t have to come at the expense of adding on more space. Designers and architects are well versed in the technology and concept behind space planning. With a proper layout, organizational planning and product selection rooms can do more with less.
5. Project Priorities
Project priorities haven’t changed much in the last year.
As homeowners make the decision to stay in their current homes, many of which are 25-50 years old, many areas of the home require upgrades. So kitchens, bathrooms, and new wood flooring are the top 3 priorities. Kitchens command the highest investment, costing between $21K in the South and $44K in San Francisco Bay area, but the average cost of a new kitchen has gone down about $2,000 since 2013.
Overall home décor is also taking top priority among homeowners, as 73% plan to redecorate in the next 2 years. Isn’t it nice to have websites like Houzz to get inspiration from!
6. The Value of Professionals Partners
In 2013 Houzz survey we found that homeowners still see value in engaging professionals partners as part of a home remodel project.
That trend has not changed in 2014.
• Over 50% plan to hire a general contractor
• 34% plan to hire a flooring professional
• 32% plan to hire an interior designer
• 17% plan to hire an architect
• Even 21% of renters plan on hiring a professional decorator to help!
Similarly, homeowners wants to work with professionals who have a good reputation and recommendations. Homeowners also value a trade professionals personality and level of expertise in their field. Homeowners also placing even less value on those with the lowest price.
If you are a professional, take the time to gather reviews and recommendations and show your level of expertise. Also show your value as a project partner, not just the lowest bidder.
Homeowners, keep on doing all the great research you do to bring your design and remodeling ideas to life, and ensure you can share your vision with all your projects partners.