April 12, 2024

Focus on Energy-efficiency Rises Significantly, According to Houzz Study

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The share of homeowners citing improving energy efficiency as highly important when completing home improvements has risen sharply since 2020, according to the annual UK Houzz & Home Study of more than 2,500 UK respondents. As the leading home renovation and design platform, including the all-in-one software solution for industry professionals, Houzz found that almost half of renovating homeowners cite improving energy efficiency as highly important when renovating, rising by 11 percentage points since 2020 (46%, compared with 35% in 2020). Upgrades to windows, insulation and ventilation systems have also increased steadily since 2020 (30%, 22% and 11%, compared with 26%, 17% and 9%, respectively). Although purchases of solar power systems are relatively low (6%) there has been a rise in interest, increasing 4 percentage points since 2020 (2%).

The report also found that more than 3 in 5 homeowners state that they plan to stay in their homes for 11 years or more following a 2022 renovation (62%). Additionally, the share of renovating homeowners who cite increasing resale value as a reason for renovating fell 5 percentage points in 2022 (6% compared with 11% in 2021).

“Homeowners are committed to their current homes and we continue to see investments that help spaces to function better for the long term,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing at Houzz. “We’re also seeing an increased focus on efficiency, with homeowners making upgrades that will help to conserve energy and keep associated costs down.”

Half of the surveyed homeowners renovated their homes in 2022 (49%) and nearly 3 in 5 decorated or furnished (57%). The median spend* for home renovations in 2022 was £16,250, whereas the spend for higher-budget updates (with the top 10% of spend) reached £120,000. Renovation activity continues into 2023, with half of homeowners planning projects this year (50%), at an anticipated median spend of £10,000 and £100,000 for higher-budget projects.

While the majority of homeowners continued to rely on savings to fund home renovations (80%), the share fell by 6 percentage points year on year. Similarly, reliance on credit cards dropped significantly (10%, compared with 18% in 2021). Both cash from a previous home sale or from mortgage refinancing rose slightly year on year (20% and 9%, compared to 18% and 8%, respectively).

Kitchens and Bathrooms Remain a Priority
Interior spaces are the most popular areas to renovate (78%), followed by improvements to outdoor areas and adding extensions (51% and 20%, respectively). Kitchen and bathroom projects remain a priority during renovations (37% and 33%, respectively) and command the highest median spend at £13,000 and £5,250, respectively.

Ageing Homes Call for Systems Upgrades
With almost half of the surveyed homeowners living in homes built in 1940 or earlier (47%), homeowners are focusing on home system improvements. More than a third of homeowners upgraded heating systems in 2022, closely followed by electrical and plumbing (38%, 37% and 36%, respectively).

Professional Demand Continues
Homeowner demand for professionals continues to grow (93%, compared with 88% in 2020). Among professionals hired, electricians, plumbers, carpet and flooring pros, and carpenters were the most common (60%, 48%, 42% and 37%, respectively). Design-related professionals, including kitchen designers, bathroom designers and interior designers, all saw an increase in demand during 2022 (25%, 18% and 7%, respectively, compared with 19%, 13% and 6%, respectively for 2021).

Improving the Kerb Appeal
Upgrades to front gardens have risen significantly since 2020, increasing 7 percentage points (47%, compared to 40% in 2020). Other exterior improvements include windows, gutters and exterior doors (30%, 25% and 24%, respectively).

Financing Over a Longer Time Period
While homeowners are less reliant on credit cards to finance home improvements, the repayment period for those who opt to fund projects this way has increased. Half of homeowners plan to pay off their credit cards over 3 or more years, an increase of 7 percentage points (50%, compared with 43% in 2020). Alternatively, the percentage of those who plan to pay back the full balance within 11 months dropped 6 points since 2020 (26%, compared to 32% in 2020).

* Median spend is the midpoint level, meaning half of renovating homeowners on Houzz spent more and half spent less.

The Houzz & Home Survey

The annual UK Houzz & Home survey is the largest survey of residential renovation, building and decorating activity published. The survey covers a wide range of renovation projects in 2022, from interior renovations and additions 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 2023. The 2023 study includes more than 2,500 respondents in the UK alone, providing insights into the home improvement activity of the millions of users of the Houzz site and mobile apps.

The Houzz & Home Survey was sent to registered users of Houzz and fielded from December to March 2023.

The full report is available here. (https://st.hzcdn.com/static/econ/UKH&H2023.pdf)

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