Research: Kitchens & baths retain their shine

Remodeling projects on the increase, profits also on the rise.

April 24, 2013

The top reasons clients decide to remodel kitchen (left) and baths (right) as ranked by remodelers vary greatly.

Remodeling projects involving kitchens and baths are experiencing steady growth as homeowners continue to reinvest in their properties.

According to a recent Professional Remodeler survey, 94 percent of remodelers indicated they generated some of their business from kitchen remodels in 2012. Similarly, 95 percent of remodelers indicated they generated some of their 2012 business from bathroom remodels.

Sixty-five percent of remodelers generated at least half of their business from kitchen remodels in the past year. Meanwhile, 80 percent indicated they received at least half of their business from bathroom remodels.

Homeowners increasing social space, reinvesting

The changing kitchen and bath markets

We asked remodelers what was the biggest change they’d seen in their kitchen and bathroom business over the last year. Here is some of what the respondents had to say.

Kitchens

- “Kitchens are trending to clean and simple lines but in a more industrial feel rather than contemporary.”

- “More white painted cabinets.”

- “Designing more technology into the kitchen.”

-“Quartz surface increasing in popularity over granite.”

- “Open walls to adjoining rooms and more seating around the counters.”

- “We are stripping the kitchen down to the studs, taking over less used space to incorporate the kitchen into a large open space.”

- “Higher quality cabinets.”

- “We have been increasing the overall space of kitchen so it can be used for entertainment.”

- “Lighting improvements.”

- “Clients are designing their kitchens to reflect their long-term commitment to their home.”

Bathroom

-“More remodels for easier access due to mobility issues.”

- “No one wants or needs a bathtub in the master bath, it’s all about the shower today. Larger, custom showers with rain heads, body sprays, custom tile, and custom glass enclosures are the standard for us today.”

- “More polished chrome and white cabinets and accessories.”

- “Bath tubs are being replaced with larger showers.”

- “Radiant heating in the floors is gaining momentum.”

- “More tile and slab or solid surface showers.”

- “Higher end fixtures.”

- “Going away from jetted tubs, people do not like the resulting maintenance.”

- “Bigger showers with multiple fixtures.”

- “Opting for furniture-style vanities instead of custom cabinet built in style.”

More than half of the remodelers that responded to the survey reported that their kitchen remodeling increased in 2012, with 52 percent experiencing an increase last year. Only 16 percent said their kitchen business had decreased, down from 20 percent in 2011. In 2010, 75 percent of remodelers said kitchen work had increased or held steady.

The kitchen’s evolving design and function plays a large role in homeowners’ decision to upgrade.

“More and more of our clients are opting for a bigger social space within their home using the kitchen as the anchor,” says a West Coast remodeler.

Moving from the kitchen to the bathroom, slightly more than half of the remodelers reported that their bathroom remodeling increased in 2012, with 53 percent experiencing an increase last year. Only 15 percent said their bathroom business had decreased.

The increase in bathroom remodels may be an indication that homeowners are investing in their homes in an effort to prepare the home for sale.

“Homeowners are eyeing selling their home in the near future as part of their decision to upgrade,” says one Midwest remodeler.

Twenty-two percent of remodelers reported they are often remodeling just the kitchen. Twenty-five percent indicated they are remodeling the kitchen as part of a whole-house remodel or addition. Twenty-nine percent said they often remodel a kitchen as part of a larger interior remodel that is not a whole-house remodel or addition. Finally, 24 percent indicated they are remodeling both the kitchen and bathroom.

As for bathrooms, 31 percent of remodelers indicated they are often remodeling just the bathroom. Twenty-three percent indicated they are remodeling the bathroom as part of a whole-house remodel or addition. Twenty-four percent said they often remodel a bathroom as part of larger interior remodel that is not a whole house remodel or addition. Finally, 22 percent indicated they are remodeling both the bathroom and kitchen.

Prices still heading up for kitchens and baths

The average price of kitchen remodel continues to increase, a good sign for remodelers.

Sixty percent indicated the average price of a kitchen remodel fell between $10,000 and $50,000, on par with the 66 percent reporting the same price range in 2011. Seventeen percent reported a price range from $10,000 to $25,000 and 43 percent reported a price range from $25,000 to $50,000. However, more than 30 percent of remodelers said their average kitchen project price was more than $50,000 in 2012, up from the 28 percent reported in 2011 and the 22 percent reported in 2010.

Seventy-four percent of remodelers reported their average kitchen price went up in 2012, while 9 percent said the average price went down. In 2011, 40 percent said their average kitchen price went up, and 20 percent said it went down.

“Our price per kitchen is higher than 2011. Clients are now ready and willing to spend more for any remodeling project than they have been since 2007,” says a Midwest remodeler.

As for bathrooms, 60 percent of remodelers indicated the average price of a bathroom remodel fell between $10,000 and $30,000. Twenty-two percent reported a price range from $10,000 to $15,000 and 38 percent indicated a price range from $15,000 to $30,000. At the highest end, 7 percent indicated a price range of greater than $30,000. Thirty-three percent indicated an average price of a bathroom project at less than $10,000.

Seventy-three percent of remodelers said their average bathroom project went up in 2012, while only 5 percent said the average price went down.

“Most of our bathroom remodeling projects involve more than one bath being remodeled at the same time,” says a Midwest remodeler.

Why homeowners are remodeling

The number one reason homeowners are choosing to renovate their kitchens: they are preparing the home for sale. This answer was followed by replacing old appliances, updating appearance, creating more space, and finally, improving the usability of the kitchen. Cabinets and countertops remain the top features homeowners choose to update followed by sinks/faucets, appliances, and finally, flooring.

As for bathrooms, the number one reason homeowners are electing to renovate their bathrooms: updating the appearance. This is followed by replacing old fixtures, creating a more luxurious bathroom, improving usability, creating more space, preparing the home for sale, and finally, improving water efficiency.

Cabinets and countertops lead the way for specific bathroom features that are updated followed by bath/shower surfaces, fixtures, flooring, sinks/faucets, and finally, wall surfaces. PR

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