Renovation resource website Houzz carries out a an annual study into the habits of its renovators called the Houzz & Home UK trends study, which this year analysed the data from more than 7,500 respondents in the UK.

We know at least a few EI readers are registered on the site – which provides contacts and resources for those looking for quality tradespeople and products when renovating their homes – so we thought there might be some interesting data within the study. 

Headlines from the official press release highlighted a significant growth in kitchen renovation spend, growing by 11% in 2018, to a median spend of £10,000. Median spend on bathroom renovations also grew by 9%, to a median spend of £4,350 in 2018. 

The study revealed that renovating activity remained strong through 2018, with more than half (57%) of homeowners on Houzz renovating an average of three rooms per project, at an overall median spend of £18,000.

Baby Boomers (ages 55-74) and Gen Xers (ages 40-54) combined represent three quarters of the renovating activity (74%), at a median spend of £20,000 each. Similar to expectations from previous years, 46% of renovating homeowners planned to continue or begin renovations this year, with 42% and 29% of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, respectively, anticipating new projects. 

While improving the design and functionality of a home are the top priorities during renovations, two in five homeowners prioritise energy efficiency (40%). Although this does not necessarily mean via technology, as this category can also include replacing windows and insulation, for example. This is particularly important for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers when compared to Millennials (48% and 40% versus 29%, respectively). 

So much for the general trends, but what about the technology side of things? Well our friends at Houzz had a dig and provided a little more insight on that side of their visitor’s activity.

The study revealed that one in eight homeowners prioritise ‘smart technology’ during home renovations (13%), purchasing products like home assistants, streaming media players and thermostats.

Unsurprisingly, Millennials are more likely than Baby Boomers or Gen Xers to rank smart technology as a ‘high priority’ (16% versus 13% and 11%, respectively), with more than a third of Millennials incorporating home assistants (37%), compared with one in five Baby Boomers (23%).

Delving further into the data, the study showed the percentage of respondents who had purchased specific product categories.

Technology of choice

  • Thermostats or temperature controllers – 36%
  • TVs (indoor) – 32%
  • Home assistants (Alexa, Google, etc.) – 31%
  • Speakers or sound system (indoor) – 19%
  • Security cameras (outdoor) – 14%
  • Streaming media players (Apple TV, Roku, Blu-ray, etc.) – 12%
  • Wireless doorbell cameras – 9%
  • Home theatre system – 6%
  • Garage door openers – 5%

As homeowners consider whether to renovate their current home or to purchase a new home, the top two considerations for renovating are to stay in their current home or area, outranking return on investment. Wanting to stay in the current home is the biggest decision driver for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, whereas Millennials (ages 25 to 39) chose to stay in their current home and renovate because it was more affordable than moving. 

The desire to remain in the home longer, could be an interesting driver as automation increases its presence and abilities in the assisted living sector. 

The study also revealed that the majority of renovating homeowners pay for renovating using cash from savings (80%), followed at a distance by credit cards, excluding store-specific credit cards (18%), and cash from a previous home sale (16%). Interestingly, reliance on credit cards is higher in Millennials than in older generations. 

Nine in 10 renovating homeowners hired a professional in 2018 (92%), with electricians, plumbers and carpet and flooring pros in greatest demand (61%, 54% and 44%, respectively). While Millennials are more likely to hire professional help than Baby Boomers (93% versus 91%, respectively), the gap is perhaps surprisingly narrow. 

The Houzz & Home Study was sent to registered users of Houzz UK and fielded in April 2019. The full report is available here.

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