Aging in Place on the Rise as a Reason to Remodel


According to a recent NAHB survey, “desire for better/newer amenities” and “need to repair/replace old components” once again ranked as the top reasons owners remodel their homes.  However, several other reasons to remodel are gaining ground, particularly the desire to be able to age in place.

The survey took the form of a special question on NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) instrument for the first quarter of 2018.  The question asked remodelers to rate how often their customers cite particular reasons for remodeling on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 indicates never or almost never, and 5 is very often.  The highest average ratings in the first quarter of 2018 were 4.3 for “desire for better/newer amenities” and 4.0 for “need to repair/replace old components.” “Desire/need for more space” came in third at 3.8.

The same three reasons to remodel appeared at the top of the chart in the same order last year.  In fact, the average ratings for all twelve reasons fell in nearly the same order in both 2017 and 2018.  The only change was “repairing a damaged property” edging ahead of “increasing the value of the home as an investment,” with average ratings of 2.84 and 2.76, respectively, in 2018.

Despite these signs of stability, a handful of the mid-tier reasons to remodel are trending upward.  It is probably easiest to see the trends by looking at the share of remodelers who checked the top two options, 4 or 5, for how often their customers cite particular reasons for remodeling.  The three upward trending reasons are “desire/need for more space,” “want to avoid moving/buying another homes,” and “desire to be able to age in place.”  In 2018, the 4-5 percentage for each of the three reached its highest point since NAHB first introduced the question in its 2012 RMI survey.

For “desire/need for more space” the climb has been gradual, with a 4-5 share that increased from 60 percent in 2012 to 66 percent in 2018.  For “want to avoid moving/buying another homes” the climb has been steeper, increasing from 45 to 58 percent over the same span.  The strongest and most consistent growth, however, was been in “desire to be able to age in place,” with a 4-5 share that has increased systematically from 32 percent in 2012 to 52 percent currently, with a particularly abrupt 10-point jump between 2017 and 2018.

An increased desire to avoid moving to another residence could in part be a response to higher construction costs for new homes and a low inventory of existing homes available on the market.  The uptick in aging in place is not entirely surprising, given the ongoing growth in the nation’s older population.

NAHB has developed a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) program for remodelers.  Remodelers who have earned a CAPS designation have specialized knowledge and training to help home owners who want to age in place.  Home owners can find a CAPS remodeler in NAHB’s Directory of Professional Remodelers.

For the complete history of all twelve reasons to remodel covered in NAHB’s RMI surveys, please consult the first quarter 2018 survey report.

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