Millennials, Severe Storms: Top Factors Fueling Remodeling Boom

According to a consumer survey conducted by James Hardie Building Products, millennials renovated at a considerably higher rate than baby boomers and Gen Xers during the pandemic.

authors QR Staff | January 4, 2022

CHICAGO—Strong demand for renovating the exterior of the home combined with favorable demographics and the impact of COVID-19 are among the key factors driving the current home renovation boom.

That’s the key finding of a newly released nationwide survey conducted by James Hardie, the Chicago-based manufacturer of fiber cement building solutions. The 1,000-homeowner survey administered by Wakefield Research, illustrates the impact of homeowners’ concerns about severe weather on renovation spending, as well as distinct demographic trend lines which find parents and millennials driving current renovation demand, outspending all other demographics.

According to James Hardie, a vast majority (76 percent) of surveyed homeowners reported that their renovation plans were impacted by the possibility of extreme weather. A majority of homeowners (54 percent) also said that the possibility of extreme weather events strongly or somewhat influenced their home renovation decisions.

The potential of severe weather factored prominently into homeowner plans.

Nearly half of homeowners (47 percent) said they or someone they know has repaired or renovated their home as the result of extreme weather. For homeowners who have personally experienced a weather-related renovation, this was overwhelmingly outdoor work.

“The impact of climate change and severe weather on home design and spending is something we’ve been closely watching for several years,” said Fran Flanagan, head of consumer insights for James Hardie. “Homeowners are looking to protect their homes and their families inside those homes,” Flanagan said.

The pandemic has meant spending more time at home for many people, leading homeowners to reassess their home’s exterior, Hardie reported, noting that 70 percent of surveyed homeowners said their home exterior needs a facelift, with 59 percent of homeowners wanting to improve their home’s exterior, including 77 percent of parents.

The survey found that parents and millennials were disproportionately renovating, and demand is not expected to abate this year. Millennials were the most likely (75 percent) to have made COVID-era renovations, and they spent more – $40,600 versus $10,000 for Gen X and $11,000 for boomers, Hardie researchers said.

Millennials conducted more renovations and spent more money doing so during the pandemic.

“In a tight housing market, this new generation of homeowners sees their first-home purchase as a long-term investment (and) perhaps due to remote-learning needs, 4 in 5 parents (80 percent) made renovations versus only 52 percent of homeowners without children,” Hardie reported.

The importance of design choice to consumers is evident in homeowners’ openness to bold colors: the survey revealed that nearly 3 in 4 (73 percent) are willing to use bold colors on the exterior of their homes, especially millennials (88 percent), the company added. QR

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