Homeowners Over DIY Remodeling

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A report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University found that homeowners’ interest in taking on DIY home projects is waning. According to the “Improving America’s Homes 2019” report, the share of total improvement spending that went to a DIY project has been shrinking over the past 20 years, falling to 18% in 2017 from 25% in 1997.

The report attributed part of the decline to older homeowners who are less willing, less able or less interested in doing a remodeling project themselves. It found 69% of homeowners 35 and younger used a professional on a remodeling project in 2017, compared to 88% of those 65 and older.

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Even when younger homeowners do start a DIY home project, they’re spending less on it, according to the report. In the period between 1995 and 2005, homeowners younger than 35 spent about 35% of their home improvement budget on DIY projects. That share fell to 31% in 2017, the center found.

Regardless of age, the report found confirmed DIYers are still willing to hire a professional for certain jobs.

“Even homeowners skilled at common DIY projects like painting, tile setting and deck laying are likely to hire professional contractors for projects such as electrical, plumbing and roofing upgrades,” the center noted in the report.

Eighty-six percent of total spending for projects to replace damaged or outdated materials and systems ended up in a professional’s pocket, compared to 76% of spending on discretionary projects like kitchen and bath remodels, room additions, or new garages, decks and patios.

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