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Kitchens continue to rule the roost among renovating homeowners

In recent years the kitchen has become one of the most important rooms in the home – and this is further backed up by new research which has found that there has been an 11% rise in spend on kitchen renovations in the last year.

That’s according to the annual Houzz & Home UK survey of more than 7,500 UK respondents, which found that the investment in kitchen refurbishments – one of the most popular rooms to renovate – reached a median spend of £10,000 in the past 12 months. In addition, median spend on bathroom renovations also rose by 9% to £4,350.

Overall, the survey found that renovating activity remained strong throughout 2018, with more than half of homeowners (57%) renovating an average of three rooms per project, at an overall median spend of £18,000.

Baby boomers (aged 55-74) and Gen Xers (aged 40-54) represented three quarters of the renovating activity (74%), at a median spend of £20,000 each.

Some 46% of renovating homeowners planned to continue or begin renovations this year, similar to expectations from previous years, with 42% and 29% of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, respectively, anticipating new projects.

“Despite a number of headwinds for the global and national economy, renovation activity continued to keep pace in 2018 and is building on a strong momentum in 2019,” Nino Sitchinava, Houzz’s principal economist, said. “Pent-up demand continues to drive renovation activity, while spend on discretionary projects such as kitchens continues to grow, fuelling home-related investments.”

When it comes to homeowners considering whether to renovate their current home or buy a new one, the top two motivations for renovating are to stay in their current home or area, outranking return on investment.

An eagerness to stay in their current home is the biggest decision driver for baby boomers and Gen Xers, whereas millennials (typically aged 25 to 39) generally choose to stay in their current home and renovate because it’s more affordable than moving.

How are renovation projects funded?

Most renovating homeowners (80%) pay for the works using cash from savings, followed at a distance by credit cards, excluding store-specific credit cards (18%), and cash from a previous home sale (16%).

The survey also revealed that reliance on credit cards is higher among millennials than in older generations.

Who carries the works out?

Some 92% of renovating homeowners hired a professional in 2018, with electricians, plumbers and carpet and flooring pros in greatest demand (61%, 54% and 44% respectively).

Although millennials are more likely to hire professional help than baby boomers (93% versus 91%), the gap is much narrower than many might have imagined.

How important is smart tech?

Only 13% of renovating homeowners prioritise smart technology, acquiring products such as home assistants, streaming media players and thermostats. Millennials, unsurprisingly, are more likely than baby boomers or Gen Xers to rank smart technology as a high priority (16% versus 13% and 11%), with more than a third of Millennials incorporating home assistants (37%), while only 23% of baby boomers do the same.

Are renovations eco-friendly?

Although improving the design and functionality of a home are the top priorities during renovations, 40% of homeowners prioritise energy efficiency - replacing windows and insulation, for example.

This is particularly important for baby boomers and Gen Xers (48% and 40% respectively), much more than millennials (29%), which may be surprising given the high-profile role of the younger generations in increasing awareness of environmental issues.

How do renovators give their home the final flourish?

The majority of renovating homeowners in 2018 (76%) also decorated or furnished their home the same year, with millennials considerably more likely to decorate following home renovations than baby boomers (84% versus 72%), buying products such as large interior furniture and lamps.

What is the Houzz & Home Survey?

The annual Houzz & Home survey is the largest published survey of residential renovating, building and decorating activity, covering a wide range of renovation projects in 2018, from interior renovations and extensions to home systems, exterior upgrades and outdoor projects.

Data gathered includes historical and planned spends, professional involvement, motivations and challenges behind building, renovation and decorating projects, as well as planned activities for 2019.

You can see the full report here.

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