In April, NAR Research released the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, which takes a deep dive into the reasons a homeowner remodels, the outcome of taking on projects, and the increased happiness found in the home once a project is completed. It also contains the typical cost of 19 remodeling and replacement projects, as estimated by members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), how much appeal each project is likely to have for buyers according to REALTORS®, and how much REALTORS® estimate that homeowners can recover on the cost of the projects if they sell the home. I spoke with Dr. Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights for Research, about the report's essential findings and main takeaways.
What is the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report – what kind of data can we find in this report?
Jessica Lautz: This report is unique in that it looks at the typical cost of a remodeling project (with data from our partners at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), what could be recovered at resale of the home (information from REALTORS®), but then also the homeowner's own experience taking on a remodeling project (from Houselogic.com).
How did this report come about?
Jessica Lautz: The report series was started in 2015 as an approach to holistically looking at remodeling. NAR felt it was important to look at remodeling from three points of view: as a potential home buyer who may see things they need to take on; as a potential seller who may need to spruce up their home before selling; and as an owner who may just want to tackle a project for themselves.
What are the main takeaways from the report?
Jessica Lautz: This year, the winner was hardwood flooring. Hardwood floor refinishing and putting in new wood flooring had the most significant value, and these projects also had high Joy Scores (calculated by NAR for each project based on the happiness homeowners reported with their renovations) among homeowners. Hardwood flooring looks beautiful in photos and videos, can be easier to clean for new pet owners, and adds warmth to a home that is appealing to both home buyers and homeowners.
What are some key differences between last year's report and the latest version?
Jessica Lautz: Interestingly, Joy Scores for all remodeling projects were up this year. People are spending a great amount of time at home and are entertaining at home more than ever. It would make sense that putting an investment into one’s space would create joy. Even projects that an owner could DIY and tackle over a weekend, such as painting a room, added a perfect Joy Score of 10.
What significant trend stood out to you in the 2022 report?
Jessica Lautz: New questions were added this year that looked at owners' motivations to remodel another room once one was completed. The report shows that remodeling can be almost a fun hobby or addiction. Once an owner tackles one room, they are excited to turn to another for the next project.
What aspects of this report do you find most interesting?
Jessica Lautz: While most of us spend a great deal of time in the kitchen—eating, cooking, working—the kitchen-related project does not bring the highest return on value or the highest Joy Score, according to this year's report. This may already be an aspect of the home that is highly customizable with features and finishes, and we all use the kitchen differently, so there is room for interpretation of the overall return.