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The 2019 Houzz & Home Survey showed an uptick in kitchen remodel spending, home security upgrades, and smart home product purchases.

According to the study’s 140,000 respondents, kitchens remained the most popular room to renovate in 2018. Median spending on kitchen remodels increased 27% from 2017 to $14,000. This is far above the 10% increase between 2016 and 2017. Houzz believes the drastic increase could be driven in part by national and international economic forces.

“Last year's 10% increase in tariffs on imported building materials is likely one of several forces hitting consumer pockets in areas such as kitchen and bathroom remodels that are heavily dependent on imports of cabinetry, countertops, ceramic tile, plumbing fixtures, and vinyl flooring from China,” said Nino Sitchinava, Houzz principal economist. “We expect similar effects to take place in 2019 given the recent breakdown in trade negotiations.”

Median renovation spending overall held at $15,000 in 2018, the same level as it was in 2016 and 2017. There was a particular uptick in projects under $5,000, which went from 16% of projects in 2017 to 19% of projects in 2018. The majority of those who renovated did so to stay in their current property (48%) or personalize their space (46%).

A particularly popular product category in 2018 was home security devices. Eighteen percent of respondents reported upgrading their security systems last year, spending an average of $500. The steady growth goes back to 2016: The category has seen an average annual growth of 20% over the past three years.

Outdoor security system installations in particular were up 50% from 2017, with 12% of respondents reporting including them in their home renovations. Other outdoor upgrades, such as beds and borders (28%), lawns (17%), fencing (16%), and decks (14%), were also popular.

Smart home products also grew in popularity last year, with a quarter of all homeowners purchasing a home assistant. Smart light fixtures (17%) and thermostats (15%) were also popular, as well as security items such as smart alarms and detectors (13%), doorbell cameras (10%), and security cameras (9%). 

Though Millennials are more likely than Baby Boomers to make smart technology a high priority in a renovation (31 and 25 percent, respectively), they are divided on smart technology overall. Twenty-six percent of Millennial homeowners rated smart technology a low priority in their renovations. 

Read the full 2019 Houzz and Home report here.