Home Improvements Hot Despite Housing Slump


UPPER SADDLE RIVER, NEW JERSEY — October 25, 2007While the forecast for the real estate market has been pretty stormy in recent months, there seems to be a silver lining when it comes to homeowner outlook. In a national survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for the Minwax® Company, the news was encouraging.  When homeowners were asked how they felt about their home in terms of its current market value, 83% said their home was worth more than what they paid for it.  In fact, almost half stated their home was worth “a lot more.” Only 8% felt that the value of their home had remained the same as when they bought it and just 6% said it had declined in price. Nearly 20% indicated having a home on the market or expecting to put one up for sale in the near future.

Eye on Resale Value Seventy-four percent of all homeowners agreed that making renovations or home improvements now will help them get the most money when they decide to sell. What renovations or home improvements will help get top dollar at resale? Two out of three respondents focused on the kitchen, specifically 63% said a kitchen update and 51% said buying new or refinishing kitchen cabinets will add to the resale value.  A similar proportion (67%) felt that painting the interior or exterior will add to the value.  Other frequent mentions were remodel the bath (58%), replace carpeting (54%) and add new or refinish hardwood floors (49%).

Why They Do It  Interestingly, almost a third said they do home improvements because they enjoy it and slightly more homeowners responded that they do home improvement projects “only when I need to.”  Just 15% reported actually doing home improvements to increase the resale value and 12% admitted to doing projects to keep their home on a par with others in the neighborhood.

Hot for Home Improvements Regardless of whether they are selling or staying put, 67% of homeowners plan to initiate a home improvement project in the next 12 months. The majority plan to paint the interior or exterior of the house. Other projects on the homeowner to-do list include remodeling a bathroom, replacing carpets, adding new appliances, updating a kitchen, adding or refinishing hardwood floors, buying new or refinishing kitchen cabinets, and updating plumbing or electrical systems.

Movin’ On Out And in a perfect world if they got the right price for their home what would they do? The largest proportion (35%) would downsize, moving to a smaller house, townhouse or apartment. A similar percentage would either relocate to another city for a change of climate or new job or move to a nicer neighborhood. Only 26% said they would buy a bigger house. A resort or active lifestyle community was the choice of 14%, while 12% would move to a retirement community and an equal number said they would put the money in the bank and rent. Older homeowners (55 plus) were more likely to downsize and younger homeowners (18-34 yrs.) were significantly more interested in moving to another city or buying a bigger house.

*The projectable Caravan® survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation of Princeton, NJ, September 28 – October 1, 2007. The report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among a national probability sample of  757 adult homeowners comprising 384 men and 373 women,18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States.

Minwax® is the nation’s leading manufacturer of wood finishing and wood care products.  Headquartered in Upper Saddle River, NJ, with a manufacturing facility in Flora, IL, Minwax® is part of Sherwin-Williams Wood Care Products.

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