Harvard University Study Shows How Pandemic Helped Boost Home Improvement Industry

A new report recently released by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, “Improving America’s Housing 2021,” reveals that while the U.S. economy contracted by -3.5% in 2020, spending on home improvements and repairs increased more than 3% to nearly $ 420 billion — the result of households altering living spaces for work, school, and family time in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While many professional remodeling projects were stopped when the pandemic hit, DIY home improvement surged, especially as the ability to work remotely increased demand for larger homes and yards in lower-cost and less densely populated areas of the country. In commenting on the report’s findings, Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies, said, “From 2010 to 2019, homeowners largely relied on professional contractors, and remodeling activity was heavily concentrated on coastal metros. But in 2020, amid concerns about having contractors in the home, DIY projects gained new popularity, and remodeling activity shifted to lower-cost metros where larger shares of younger households — traditionally the most active do-it-yourselfers — could afford to own homes.” Baker went on to say that “In the short term, many homeowners who deferred projects (both large and small) in 2020 are expected to complete those renovations once the pandemic is over,” said Baker. “Additionally, there has been an upturn in homeownership as younger households look to purchase homes, the number of multigenerational households has been growing, and remote work has given people more locational flexibility and the desire to modify their homes.” “All of these factors have boosted the home improvement market and may become lasting trends that, in turn, fuel remodeling activity in the US for years to come.”

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.