Remodeling in 2017: Baths Reclaim Top Spot from Kitchens


May is National Home Remodeling Month.  Following the tradition established in recent years, the month’s first related post covers the most common types of remodeling projects performed by NAHB Remodelers during the previous calendar year.  Results come from a special question on NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) survey for the first quarter of 2018.

The results show kitchen and bathroom remodeling continuing to duel for the top spot.  In the latest survey, 81 percent of NAHB’s remodelers cited bathrooms as one of their most common projects in 2017, slightly higher than the 78 who cited bathroom remodeling.  Previously, bathrooms had edged out kitchens in 2014 and 2015.  Kitchens then slid to the top in 2016 before the two switched positions again in the most recent numbers.  As in previous years, other remodeling jobs on the list in 2017 trailed baths and kitchens by a substantial margin.  The second tier included whole house remodeling (cited as a common project by 49 percent of remodelers), room additions (37 percent), and window or door replacement (30 percent).

While the common project percentages have remained relatively stable at the top for bathroom and kitchen remodeling—each hovering right around 80 percent for the past several years—the percentages for the second-tier remodeling jobs are down noticeably from recent peaks.  In 2017, whole house remodeling declined by 4 percentage points (from 53 percent the previous year), room additions were down eight points (from 37 percent), and window and door replacements were down six points (from 36 percent in 2016).  The complete history for all remodeling projects listed in the survey is available in the full report.

Although the whole house remodeling and room addition percentages were down year-over-year, they remain relatively strong compared to the rest of their post-downturn history.  It’s possible that the 2013-2016 growth in the incidence of these larger scale projects represented in part a backlog of jobs put off during the downturn that has now largely been worked off.  In contrast, the percentage of remodelers reporting window and door replacement as a common project has been declining over a longer period and has now reached its lowest point since the inception of NAHB’s RMI survey in 2001.  Although the survey doesn’t explain why, we note that NAHB’s remodelers face competition in this space from some manufacturers of replacement windows who perform their own installations—a factor not affecting the other types of remodeling listed in the survey.

To help publicize National Home Remodeling Month, resources are available to NAHB members online in the form of a comprehensive toolkit.  For homeowners interested in learning more about remodeling, information is available on NAHB’s Remodeling Your Home web page.

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2 replies

  1. I was thinking about the rankings and this article makes sense. I work in finishing basements and in mold removal Sacramento California. The kitchen and the bathroom are indeed what most buyers first look at. It makes total sense why they are leaders in the rankings. I love the eye opener.

    – Thanks again
    J. Gordy

  2. I didn’t expect that bathroom remodeling is on the top of the list. The bathroom is indeed the most important room people needs. Thank you for this information.

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