Report: 'Improving America's Housing'

March 12, 2019
The latest annual report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University covers the state of the U.S. home remodeling market, following lags in the building sector.
Photo: Unsplash/George Pastushok

The latest annual report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University covers the state of the U.S. home remodeling market, following lags in the building sector.

The 20th anniversary report finds that the nation's remodeling market grew by more than 50 percent since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, as new construction supply was greatly outpaced by demand. Home price appreciation translates to growing home equity, inspiring homeowners to start home improvement projects. Older households, who typically have more money put away for home repairs and projects, have higher homeownership rates than do younger households, and generally take on projects to make their home more accessible and safe as they age in place. Households aged 55 years and up currently make up half of all remodeling spending by homeowners. Improvements spending hit a record in 2017 at nearly $425 billion.

“With new construction slowly recovering from historic lows, 40 percent of the country’s 137 million homes
are at least 50 years old,” said Abbe Will, Associate Project Director in the Remodeling Futures Program. “The
aging of the housing stock has been a boon to the remodeling industry, with spending surpassing investment in
homebuilding every year for over a decade, and contributing 2.2 percent to U.S. economic activity in 2017.”

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