The coronavirus has changed life for people across the globe, but new research from Houzz shows that renovations have continued throughout the U.S. during the public health crisis.

Fifty-two percent of homeowners who were in the midst of a home renovation or design project when the coronavirus pandemic was declared March 11 were able to continue their projects, according to a recent survey of nearly 1,000 U.S. homeowners on Houzz. Only 1% canceled an ongoing project, according to the survey. Given that construction has been deemed an essential service in many states during the pandemic, projects could proceed where homeowners felt comfortable to do so.

Why Homeowners Put Projects on Hold

Forty-seven percent of homeowners who were in the midst of a project when the pandemic hit put their projects on hold. Of those, 2 in 5 felt the project wasn’t urgent and could wait, according to the survey. Nearly as many (38%) had health and safety concerns that led them to pause their projects. And 27% put their projects on hold due to local ordinances.

Of course, ordinances as well as health concerns vary across the U.S., and that variation is reflected in regional differences in how the pandemic has affected design and remodeling projects. A greater share of homeowners in the South (64%) and West (56%) regions of the U.S. continued with their projects compared with the Midwest (40%) and Northeast (37%), the survey found.

“While many projects have continued during this time, the Northeast region was most affected, which is not surprising given the pandemic’s significant impact in that area,” says Marine Sargsyan, Houzz senior economist.

Now, as shelter-in-place orders are becoming more relaxed in some areas and lifted completely in others, “we’re also hearing from our pro community that certainprojects are able to restart,” Sargsyan says.

Ongoing decor and renovation projects

Types of Projects That Were Most and Least Likely to Continue

Ongoing decor and renovation projects of home offices and master bedrooms were the projects least likely to be put on hold, with 7 in 10 continuing, according to the survey. More involved projects such as master bathroom remodels and kitchen remodels also continued for more than half of homeowners.

Guest bathroom and garage projects that were already underway were the most likely to be paused due to the pandemic, the survey found.

fresh eyes and realizing they want to improve how the homes function and feel.

Lack of Storage, Sufficient Lighting Top Concerns

As they look at their homes with an eye toward improvement, half of homeowners reported facing challenges in their current homes, according to the survey. Among this group, the No. 1 challenge cited was a lack of storage (34%), followed by a lack of ample lighting (24%). Not having a workout space (23%) or a workspace (23%) were other common concerns.

Spaces Homeowners Plan to Upgrade

Outdoor Upgrades Top the List of Planned Projects

While it’s one thing to have big dreams for a project, it’s another to pull the trigger. It turns out that 9 in 10 homeowners plan to make improvements to their homes after the pandemic. As part of the survey, homeowners identified those projects they were most likely to move forward with after the pandemic. Topping the list were outdoor upgrades (27%), master bathroom renovations (25%) and kitchen renovations (23%).

Decor, Lighting and Layout Changes Wanted

Among the changes desired by homeowners planning to improve their homes are new decor (47%), better lighting (30%) and an improved layout (27%).

Sheltering in Place Also Inspires New Home Uses

In another takeaway from the sheltering-in-place experience, many homeowners reported more time spent baking and cooking (52%).

Homeowners have also created multiuse spaces for exercising and working from home (20% each).

Data for the Houzz report was sourced from an online survey of 983 U.S. Houzz users between April 22 and April 29.

Source: Houzz, Erin Carlyle May 2020, Houzz Editorial Staff. Writing about the cost of renovation and what it takes to remodel. Link: https://www.houzz.com/magazine/half-of-homeowners-have-continued-remodeling-during-the-pandemic-stsetivw-vs~136160464

Mike Schell
September 2, 2020

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