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March 27, 2020

Data Scoop: Benchmark Data from Consumer Practices Survey Prior To 2020 Data Release

Ahead of tabulating and announcing the 2020 Consumer Practices Survey (CPS) findings, Home Innovation is releasing some analysis of remodeling activities from our 2019 survey as a baseline for the new data.

The 2020 CPS will provide fresh insight into the direction of the home remodeling and improvement markets. With housing affordability in the decline and new home construction lagging behind demand (at least prior to the coronavirus situation), there are some questions to answer, such as:

For more than 20 years, the CPS has looked at kitchen and bathroom remodeling; additions and new building; conversions of unfinished space to living space; and interior restructuring by moving walls. The following table is a summary of 2019 CPS responses for each activity, with its corresponding percentage of U.S. occupied households undergoing each category of improvement.

Summary of Home Improvements

Source: Home Innovation's Consumer Practices Survey

Renewing the Heart of the Home: Kitchen & Bath Improvements

Kitchen and bathroom improvements are always among the most popular remodeling activities. This is because of the frequent use of these areas, the number of activities they support, are their likelihood to experience more wear over time. Also, these are the areas most likely to become functionally obsolete due to changing technologies and lifestyles. Considering the average home has three or more bathrooms, it’s not a surprise that bathrooms are the most popular room for upgrades — new faucets, flooring, fixtures, or paint are common.

Across all regions, upgrade frequency in the kitchen closely follows bathrooms. Since there is only one kitchen in most homes compared to multiple bathrooms, this indicates that the kitchen is probably the most intensively upgraded room in the house.

Adding Space for Living, Working, Storage

When a homeowner wants to increase living area of their existing home, they have two primary choices: convert existing unfinished space into living area, or build an addition. Often, space in unfinished basements, porches, attics, or garages gets repurposed first, then additions become the only option to expand living area. When unfinished space — for storage, working, parking, or spending time outdoors — gets repurposed, the need arises to replace it. Hence, households add storage buildings, detached garages, or porches.

Households in the West South Central Census Division (primarily Texas) are most likely to build additions – 4.3% of WSC households reported a new addition in 2019, followed by Pacific region households at 3.8%. Additions were least common in West North Central households, with just 2% in 2019.

Pacific households were the most likely to add an attached garage (2.3%), followed by New England (2.0%). East and West North Central (Midwest) states had just a 1% incidence rate of adding an attached garage. Attached garages more likely than detached in the New England and South Atlantic, while detached garages more popular than attached in the Midwest. Carports are most popular in the West South Central (Texas) with 2.7% incidence, and least popular in the East North Central and East South Central states (0.7%).

No surprise that new porches are most popular in the South, where they fit in with the predominant style of architecture and lifestyle due to warmer climates in many areas. States with greater than 4% incidence of new porches in 2019 were South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana. Those with higher than 3.4% incidence included Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Oregon. Lowest incidence for porch construction was in the Upper Midwest. States with less than 2% of households constructing porches were Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and North Dakota.

Other Conversion Options

Conversions of unfinished space to living space were about 3 times more likely to occur among U.S. households than were add-on space renovations, such as new additions. Based on our 2019 survey, about 4% of U.S. households spent money to convert non-living space into living space, including basements, attic, garages, outbuildings, and porches. States in the Mid-Atlantic and East North Central Census Divisions were most likely to convert space (5%), while Mountain states were least (3%).

Basement conversions were by far the most popular type (1.4% of respondents), but these are primarily happening only in areas where basement foundations are popular — in middle and northern latitudes. Following closely were garage-to-living space conversions (1.1%), and attic and porch conversions (each at 0.7%). States reporting at least 2.5% of households with expenditures involving basement conversions were Colorado, Utah, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska. The remainder of the Northeast and Midwest states were not far behind. Garage conversions were most popular in West South Central states, followed by Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic states. Attic conversions were led by Mid-Atlantic households, followed by West South Central, where homeowners were more than 3 times as likely to do an attic conversion than homeowners in Mountain states. Porch conversions were most popular in the South Atlantic and West South Central, areas where rear and side porches are popular in home design.

Dig Deeper: CPS Database Provides Great Source for Pre-Screened Survey Sample

Finding and surveying a consumer group with specific home repair or remodeling purchase experience can be challenging, at best. Don’t spin your wheels trying to reach the right target audience for your next survey. Home Innovation’s CPS database is a great source for pre-screened survey sample. Contact us if you’re seeking to conduct a survey of consumers about their home improvement activities, regardless of how infrequent the purchase may be.