Two-Thirds Of Consumers Are Planning Home Renovations
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Consumers are shelling out money to improve their homes, a new survey says.
According to Realtor.com, 67% of consumers plan to renovate within the next six months and some 32% will spend over $10,000 on renovations.
"This shows there is some disposable income out there among homeowners," says Leslie Piper, a housing specialist with Realtor.com. "There is a lot more consumer confidence out there and this is a great direction for the real estate market."
Some 32% of respondents cited improving the home's appearance as the reason for renovating, while 22% linked the renovations to preparing the home for a future sale. Only 11% said the renovations where to improve the property's value.
For those looking to upgrade their living situation, consumers have long grappled with staying in their current home and renovating or buying a different property.
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This choice may be easier to make for some homeowners, especially if they have the credit standards required to obtain a mortgage to purchase a more expensive home. For other consumers who have been shut out of the mortgage market on the heels of tighter lending standards by banks, the renovation option becomes front and center.
Plenty of consumers flock towards home equity lines of credit (HELOC) to finance home improvement projects. These financial products, which allow homeowners to tap into their home's equity like an ATM, have been heating up lately , despite contributing to the 2008 mortgage collapse.
"You can get a HELOC at an interest rate that's lower than inflation, so this is free money in some cases," says Dani Babb, Broker/President of The Babb Group Real Estate, Inc.
Babb also points to the plethora of mortgage modifications over the past few years, where homeowners are locked in at low rates, making it less attractive to buy a new home and more sensible to renovate instead.
Still, mortgage rates are low by historical standards. On Thursday, Freddie Mac said the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage stands at 4.13%, the same level as last week and down from 4.31% at the same last year.
While the bulk of respondents planned on renovating areas of the home that tend to cost more, with 61% saying the kitchen was the most popular area to renovate and 59% for the bathroom, 22% said they plan to spend only $2,000-$5,000 on a renovation.
"In that range, you can complete a cosmetic cleanup in your kitchen," Piper adds. "Instead of replacing the cabinets, you can repaint them or replace the floors or an appliance."