Thank a Boomer: Seniors Are Driving the Boom in Home Remodeling

The two most common home remodeling jobs in 2015 were bathroom and kitchen remodeling, which were included in 81% and 79% of all remodeling projects, respectively. While the trend is likely to remain similar for 2017, the group of people responsible for these projects has changed. This year, it seems that older homeowners are going to be a key factor in expanding the home remodeling market.

According to a recent study from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, home remodeling expenditures by people aged 55 and older will experience a 33% increase by 2025. The report, titled “Demographic Change and the Remodeling Outlook,” details home remodeling trends over the last few years and makes projections for future expenditures made by homeowners.

In perhaps the most intriguing portion of the report, researchers note that the majority of existing houses don’t have specific design features that would make it possible for aging homeowners to continue to live comfortably in their homes. In light of that discovery, many older homeowners are making modifications to prepare the necessary accessibility measures they will need in the future.

Paul Verga, owner of Versatile Improvements and Remodeling in Port St. Lucie, FL, said that he makes it a point to consider those measures in much of his work.

“In any bathroom remodel we do for middle-aged or older customers, we beef up the walls and put more wood in there,” he said in an interview with Valley News. “That gives more room and support to install handrails in the future.”

Aging homeowners may be on the road to spending more on home remodeling projects, but so is the rest of the home-owning population. In fact, 2016 saw homeowners spend approximately $361 billion on home remodeling and repairs. That’s almost a 13.5% increase from the last peak in 2007, right before the housing market crashed.

What’s causing the rising number of home improvement projects? Lower unemployment, higher salaries, and increasing home values across the board are prompting countless homeowners to deck out their houses in the coming year.

Brad Hunter, chief economist at HomeAdvisor, explained that besides seniors, millennials in particular are also interested in personalizing their homes. Even young business owners are making improvements to commercial spaces with the knowledge that a simple deck or patio addition can increase revenue by upwards of 30% if installed properly.

And in the residential real estate world, millennial homeowners “put a lot of value on personalizing something so it is an expression of themselves,” Hunter said. “They may not have the money to do it all at once, but they can do it over the years.”

Kitchen and bathroom remodels still top the list of projects slated for 2017, but the trends within those categories remain to be seen.

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