According to remodelers in NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI), a simple “desire for better/newer amenities” ranked as the number one reason customers remodel their homes in 2014, just as it did in 2013. On a scale of 1 to 5 (where 1 indicates never or almost never, and 5 is very often), the average rating on desire for newer amenities was 4.4 in 2014.
“Need to repair/replace old components” finished in second place with an average rating of 4.2. These traditional reasons to remodel were the only two with an average rating above 4.0. Another fairly traditional reason, “desire for more space” came in third with an average rating of 3.8; “To avoid moving or buying another home” was fourth at 3.3.
All other reasons finished with average ratings of 3.0 or lower. This includes some of the trendier reasons to remodel often cited by special interest groups. The average rating for aging in place was 3.0, and for energy efficiency or environmental concerns it was 2.6. Aging in place and energy efficiency are significant factors in the remodeling market, but in the overall scheme of things they are less powerful than the simple desire for new things and need to replace old things.
We’ve only asked this question in the RMI survey a couple of times before, but over that short history, the results have been quite stable. Both the ranking of the various reasons and the average ratings were quite similar in 2013 and 2014. For 9 of the 11 reasons on the list, the average rating was either one tenth of a point higher, or completely unchanged in 2014.
To the extent there were any significant changes at all over the past year, they were “increasing the value of the home as an investment,” which increased by two tenths of a point in 2014, and “energy efficiency/environmental concerns” which declined by a tenth of a point—the only specific reason on the list to register even a small decline. The combination of these incremental changes moved “increasing the value of the home” ahead of energy efficiency as a slightly more common reason for owners to remodel their homes.