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76% of Homeowners Made Home Improvements During Pandemic

With many consumers spending more time indoors because of the pandemic, some homeowners have used at least a portion of that time to make improvements on their homes.

Porch, a company that connects homeowners and home improvement professionals, surveyed homeowners to gauge whether the coronavirus outbreak has stopped them from moving forward with their home improvement plans. The survey found that not only were most homeowners not deterred by the pandemic, but many have taken action because of it.

A renewed focus on home amid the pandemic

Some earlier studies have suggested that consumers may be putting off plans to buy a new house because of the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic. For current homeowners, though, renovating their homes may be an appealing alternative.

The vast majority of respondents to the Porch survey — 76% — said they have made at least one home improvement since the pandemic started. And that trend is likely to continue, as 78% said they are planning to initiate at least one home improvement project in the next 12 months.

Younger homeowners have been the most proactive, with 82% of millennials and Gen Z members reporting that they’ve made at least one home improvement since the pandemic began, compared to 79% of Gen Xers and 56% of baby boomers.

The most common home improvement project was garden landscaping, cited by 26% of respondents. That was followed by:

  • Repainting one or more rooms (24%)
  • Equipping the home with high-speed internet (21%)
  • Improving or adding a lawn (18%)
  • Installing security cameras (16%)

Overall, 64% of respondents made renovations to the exterior portion of their house, and 58% made improvements indoors. Many homeowners also sought to make changes that have long-term value, as 44% introduced new home technology and 34% made improvements that added to their home’s eco-friendliness.

Economic impact payments a source of funding for home projects

Consumers have not let financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic stop them from improving their home surroundings. The largest percentage — 38% — have paid for their home improvements by dipping into savings. Other ways homeowners have paid for improvements include:

  • Credit card (23%)
  • Tax refund (10%)
  • Personal loan (7% )
  • Home equity loan (6%)

Thirteen percent utilized the economic impact payment they received as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), referred to in the survey as a “stimulus check from the government,” for their home improvements.

As for why homeowners are making these improvements now, the largest percentage of respondents — 25% — said it’s simply because they finally have time to do it. Two other reasons, each cited by 21% of respondents, are the value that improvements add to their home and a desire to make their home feel more cozy. Some respondents —16% — are making changes to better adapt to life in the age of COVID-19.

Indeed, some improvements suggest that homeowners may be planning to spend more time in their homes for the foreseeable future. For example, 17% of respondents have either added or are planning to add a home office, while 16% have either added or have plans to add a home gym.

Methodology: Market research firm Savanta surveyed 1,083 homeowners ages 18 and older between July 7, 2020 and July 9, 2020 on behalf of Porch. Generations were defined as follows: Millennials and Gen Z are those between the ages of 18 to 39; Generation X are those between the ages of 40 to 55; and baby boomers are those over 55.