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Kitchen Is King, and 3 Other Insights From Houzz

Houzz's 2020 renovation survey is out and the data tells quite a few stories 

June 29, 2020

Median spending on home renovations in 2019 was $13,000, down $2,000 from the year prior though still $3,000 higher than the spending that was anticipated, according to the latest Houzz and Home Renovation survey.

But what does that spending represent? We dug into the numbers to find out.

Kitchen Is King, and Maybe Most Profitable

The most popular room to remodel in 2019 was the same as the most expensive room to remodel: the kitchen. Twenty-six percent of homeowners surveyed remodeled their kitchen last year at a median price of $12,000.

Something else kitchens own is longest construction time, a metric new to Houzz’s annual renovation survey. On average, kitchen remodels took contractors 4.5 months to complete. That's more than a month longer than any other project. While kitchens do offer pros the best chance at higher per-project revenue, with the time it takes, it begs the question: is it worth it?

The answer is maybe "yes,” according to Houzz’s data. The monthly median spend for kitchen remodels is $2,666. While this doesn’t necessarily translate to profitability for the remodelers doing the work, as it doesn’t account for the costs a business takes on to complete a project, it does serve as an indicator of potential profitability.

Other high per-month spending projects include master baths ($2,500) and guest bedrooms and bathrooms, which both work out to about $1,000 per month.

The Rise of Roofing

Since 2018, roofing has held the no. 1 spot for most popular exterior project (and since even before then has held the no. 1 spot for most expensive, with a median price in 2019 of $8,000, more than double any other project). One in five homeowners that completed an exterior project over the past two years, completed a roofing project.

That’s not to say roofing projects haven’t always been popular. They have. Though, historically "Roofing" occupied only the no. 4 or 5 spot on the most popular exteriors projects list. The change isn’t a matter of an increase in roofing projects, but rather a decrease in the apparent popularity of other exterior projects, namely painting and doors.

Still, despite a shifting order, the top five most popular exterior projects have remained the same since 2015.

Who’s Spending What?

Houzz breaks down renovation share and spending by generation, and what it shows is Boomers (55%) continue to be the top spenders ($15,000) and make up the lionshare of overall remodeling spending. Also, apart from the Silent Generation (or “Seniors,” as Houzz puts it), who only make up 3% of renovating homeowners, they’re also most likely to hire a pro.  

With their penchant for renovating, spending, and hiring professional help, you might say Boomers are, on paper, the most perferable remodeling client. But Millennials, Gen Xers, and Seniors still have high median spends at $10,000-$12,000. Though on the high end, Gen Xers ($82,000) spend more than any group. All are more likely to hire a remodeler than not.

Who’s Getting Hired?  

Hiring a pro is standard procedure across all generations. The overall percentage of homeowners hiring remodelers has remained in the high 80s since 2016.  

The makeup of what professionals are being hired has been incrementally shifting for the past several years. While in 2015, there was a near balance in the hiring of specialty service providers* (44%) and construction professionals** (39%), the two have since moved in opposing directions. Specialty service providers now account for half of the remodeling professionals hired while construction professionals account for 36%, or just over a third.  

The difference is made up by design-related professionals* who, like specialty service providers, have increased their presence in the market. Since 2015, the share of design-related professionals has risen from 15% to 19%. 

*Specialty service provider hiring does not include any specialists hired with the help of a construction manager (general contractor, builder, design-build company and/or kitchen or bath remodeler).
**Construction professionals are general contractors, kitchen or bathroom remodelers, builders and design-build professionals.
***Design-related professionals are kitchen or bath designers, architects, interior designers or decorators, landscape architects or designers, and lighting designers.

About the Author

About the Author

James McClister is managing editor for Professional Remodeler.

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