Real estate values are still struggling, and people are viewing their homes not as investments, but as their homes!  In other words, the trend is to stay in place and do makeovers for a more livable home.

Because of this trend, home remodeling is expected to increase during the second half of the year, making 2012 the strongest year since 2006. Driving the market will be midsize kitchen and bath projects, maintenance work and energy-efficiency upgrades.

In fact, Americans are now spending more on remodeling than on new construction, according to Stephen Melman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).  He states that we are moving less now than at any time since WWII.

A survey of Better Homes and Gardens magazine stated that 61% of consumers wanted to get the most value for their budget – bargain hunting, in other words. 

The survey also found that consumers are most interested in style upgrades to countertops, flooring, faucets and fixtures, followed by general maintenance, decor updates, efficiency and home organization.

There’s a trend from formal to informal living, says Jerry Levine, president of the Washington, D.C. area remodeling firm Levine Group Architects and Builders. He says his high-end clientele, who spend an average of $240,000 on renovations, want space to be comfortable, not fancy.

Now, he says, Americans are going back to the future as they try to create permanent, family homes that reflect who they are. “The house is the most direct mirror of your personal values,” he says. “When people renovate to change their lives, they waste their money, but when they renovate to improve how they already live, they benefit.”

What are homeowners seeking?

  • Outdoor connection – resulting in larger windows, decks, or porches.
  • Livable kitchens – the kitchen is the new living room; shifting away from wall cabinets which can block views to a living area.
  • More open floor plans – kitchen that connect to the living room, dining area and the outdoors.
  • Togetherness – the open living core encourages coming together.
  • Smaller master baths – doing away with spa tubs, reclaiming that space for larger shower and vanities.
  • Better use of space – reconfigure existing space to make it work better.
  • Energy efficiency – clients are requesting more efficient windows, doors and insulated walls.
  • Mudrooms – Americans seek to reduce clutter and drop rooms or mud rooms provide a space to put items without cluttering up the living space.
  • Universal design – for aging in place as baby boomers need more ADA rated showers, entries and doorways sized for wheelchairs and ease of access.