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Gen Xers drive home renovations, Houzz survey finds

Published: 27 July 2020 - Neil Mead

Gen Xers (ages 40-54) accounted for two in five renovating homeowners in 2019 (42 per cent), according to the annual Houzz & Home UK survey of more than 7,500 UK respondents. Baby Boomers (ages 55-74) and Millennials (ages 25-39) follow in renovation activity with 37 per cent and 19 per cent of home renovators, respectively. More than half of homeowners reported a renovating project in 2019 (51 per cent), tackling nearly three interior rooms on average. When the study was fielded in early 2020, planned activity for the year remained consistent with the previous year, however, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on planned renovation activity remains to be seen. 


Median spend declined to  £11,000 in 2019 from  £18,000 in 2018, consistent with a reduction in average project scope. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers offset some of this decline with the highest median renovation spend in 2019 at  £12,000, each. Millennials followed, with a median spend of  £10,000. Kitchens commanded the highest median spend at  £10,000, similar to previous years, followed by bathrooms (£4,000).  

“Following significant growth in home renovation activity over the past few years, we’re seeing the market settle somewhat in terms of scope and spend,” said Marine Sargsyan, Houzz senior economist. “That said, Gen Xers are continuing to drive renovation activity and spend, bringing consistency to the market as they pursue projects that they’ve been planning for years.” 

Gen Xers were more likely to pursue a project because they’ve wanted to do it all along and finally have the financial means than because they wanted to customise a recently purchased home (41 per cent versus 26 per cent, respectively). Home purchases more commonly motivated Millennials (50 per cent).

COVID-19 Impacts Home Improvement

The Houzz & Home survey was fielded prior to the declaration of the coronavirus pandemic, between February-March 2020. At that time almost half of homeowners on Houzz reportedly planned to continue or start renovations this year (46 per cent) and more than half of homeowners planned to make repairs (54 per cent).

“Subsequent surveys* have shown that two in five homeowners who were in the midst of a project at the start of the pandemic were able to continue with renovations. That said, some homeowners have opted to delay certain elective renovations due to implications related to social contact, labour and material availability and personal discretionary spending,” said Sargsyan. "Deferred maintenance will accrue during this period, setting the stage for a renewed burst of activity following the pandemic."

Planning Takes Time

Preparing for a renovation in 2019 took homeowners as long as it did to actually renovate on average. Construction took between 1.9 and 13.4 months on average for different types of project and the planning phase took just as long. Kitchens require lengthy planning, averaging 10 months, compared with bathrooms (7.4 months). Surprisingly, entrance, hall or boot rooms, which typically command a smaller square footage, took 7 months on average to plan.

Homeowners Look to Professionals for Help

Nine in ten homeowners hired a home professional for renovation projects in 2019 (91 per cent). Baby Boomers were the most likely to hire a pro for their project (93 per cent), followed by Gen Xers and Millennials (92 and 90 perc ent, respectively). Electricians and plumbers were the most common renovation professionals hired by renovating homeowners (58 and 51 per cent, respectively). 

Projects Funded by Savings

Cash from savings was by far the most common form of home renovation payment (85 per cent). The next most common source of funding was credit cards (20 per cent), which was more commonly used by Millennials than the older generations. 

Home Offices Get to Work

While bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens continue to be the most popular rooms to renovate (29, 29 and 27 per cent, respectively), home offices were added or upgraded by nearly one in ten homeowners in 2019 (nine per cent). Millennials were more likely to pursue a home office project (11 per cent) than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers (9 and 8 per cent, respectively).

Bright and Secure

Indoor light fixtures were the most popular technology purchase during home renovations (56 per cent). Other technology purchased during renovations include home assistants, alarms or detectors and thermostats (34, 32 and 31 per cent, respectively). Outdoor technology purchases were led by lighting and security cameras (33 and 17 per cent, respectively). 

The Houzz & Home Survey

The annual Houzz & Home survey is the largest survey of residential renovating, building and decorating activity published. The survey covers a wide range of renovation projects in 2019, from interior renovations and extensions 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 2020. The 2020 study includes more than 7,500 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 UK Houzz & Home Survey was sent to registered users of Houzz and fielded February-March 2020.

The full report is available here.

Houzz has over 20 million photos of professionally designed interiors and exteriors, including completed kitchen and bathroom projects, and more than 2.5 million active home renovation and design professionals including architects, interior designers, home builders and design and build firms


*Reference: COVID-19 and your home survey. Fielded 25th June - 6th July 2020. N=5,773



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