Remodeling in 2016: Kitchens Reclaim Top Spot from Baths


May is National Home Remodeling Month.  For the month’s first related post, we report on the most common types of remodeling projects performed by NAHB Remodelers in 2016.  The results come from a special question added to NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) survey for the first quarter of 2017.

The results show kitchens edging out baths for the top spot by a narrow margin: 81 percent of remodelers said kitchen remodeling was a common job for them in 2016, compared to 80 percent for bathroom remodeling.  The other categories trailed kitchens and baths by a substantial margin, but whole house remodeling was cited as a common project by 53 percent of remodelers, room additions by 46 percent, and window or door replacement by 36 percent, so these all qualify as relatively popular projects.

Historically, kitchen and baths have consistently ranked as the two most common types of remodeling projects since the inception of NAHB’s RMI survey in 2001.  When the survey first began, kitchen renovations were slightly more common than bathroom remodeling, but that changed with the housing downturn that began roughly in 2008.  The incidence of both kitchen and bathroom remodeling dipped after that, but kitchen remodeling declined first, pushing  bathroom remodeling into the top spot—where it remained until the most recent numbers came in.  Both series have generally been trending upward since 2012, so the 81 percent of remodelers currently reporting kitchen remodeling as a common project is the highest that percentage has ever been.  And at 80 percent, bathroom remodeling is only one point off its all-time high of a year earlier.  Note: the graph below excludes results from two RMI surveys which asked the question in a slightly different form, and for that reason may not be comparable to the rest of the history.

Meanwhile, whole house remodeling experienced a substantial drop at about the same time the incidence of kitchen remodeling began to decline.  But the post-2011 rebound in whole house projects was particularly strong, and the 53 percent of remodelers currently reporting whole house remodeling as a common project represents the high water mark for that series.  It also represents the first time since 2006 that over half of NAHB’s remodelers cited anything other than kitchens and baths as a common type of remodeling project.


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