Fueled by rising home equity and pent-up desires, homeowners are investing heavily in new kitchens and bathrooms. Instead of moving, they’re staying put and remaking homes into dream houses where they expect to live many more years. Especially in California, rapidly rising home prices – and values – make remodeling often a better option than buying another house.
Recent home buyers also are plunging big bucks into remodeling and now account for one in four projects. They tend to spend more and are three times more likely to tackle whole-house projects than longtime homeowners do, according to national home renovation experts Houzz.
“It’s a really good sign of consumer confidence,” said Nino Sitchinava, Houzz’s principal economist. “In general, we’re seeing a lot more luxury features, especially in bathrooms. People want room for two in bathtubs and showers, and dual sinks in the vanity. They want a spa experience and more space.”
And now, people have the time as well as the money to get work done, she added. “Home renovations usually come down to finally having the finances to do it. Now, time trumps finances. People are saying they no longer can stand their bathrooms and they’re doing something about it.”
Kathleen Jennison, owner of KTJ Design Co. in Stockton, agrees. “People love their homes, but they’re outdated,” she said. “They want a new look, but don’t want to move. That some day (to do something) has finally come.”
This is peak home remodeling season, with many contractors backed up for weeks. According to a new survey by the Home Improvement Research Institute, seven out of 10 homeowners plan at least one home improvement during the next three months.