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Lifestyle Investments Drive Kitchen and Bath Remodeling

Remodeling is on the rise, and consumers are now tackling larger kitchen and bathroom renovations than in previous years.  Whole-room remodels are the kinds of discretionary (as opposed to immediately-necessary) projects that typically get put off when the economy is soft.  Now that the lingering effects of the recession have mostly faded, homeowners are feeling confident enough in their finances to take on these lifestyle investments.

Home values have bounced back handily since the downturn, restoring equity for many home owners.  This increased equity feeds home improvement in two ways: People feel richer, and it is that much easier for them to get a home improvement loan from a bank.

Another positive side-effect of the recovered housing market is that more people are listing their homes and moving again.  When people move, home improvement activity spikes, several months before the sale (as the sellers prepare the house for sale), and again for several months after the move (as the new owners customize things the way they want them).

Going beyond refrigerators and dishwasher replacements, we are seeing more whole-kitchen and whole-bathroom remodels, particularly in the luxury-home segment.

The most significant reason for undertaking a whole-kitchen remodel is the need to “update” and/or refresh the look of the kitchen.  There is of course a strong movement toward the contemporary or transitional styles, with a simple, clean look, often with white cabinets, but also some warmer tones, plus a move toward “commercial-style” appliances in the more upscale gourmet kitchens.  The “update” usually involves replacing appliances with new ones that are more technologically current, blended with a style that may not be of this era (mid-century and traditional styles are actually more popular than contemporary in some areas).  There is also a trend toward a “high-tech-yet-warm” look, consistent with the transitional style.

Kitchen & Bathroom Remodel Costs

HomeAdvisor’s data shows that the average expenditure on a kitchen remodel is $20,947 (national average), but it can go much higher.  The average kitchen remodel runs $23,912 in New York, $30,297 in Los Angeles, and close to $27,265 in Seattle.  The average bathroom remodel costs $9,313, ranging as high as $19,095 in Sarasota, Florida and $14,733 in San Francisco, California.

As long as the economy continues to grow, even at the current slow pace, the kitchen and bath business is expected to increase in all major markets in the U.S.  Areas with strong economic foundations and rapid home price appreciation tend to be among the fastest-growing and highest-spending for kitchen and bath remodels.

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