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Study Finds That Homeowners Shift Focus On Home Remodeling In Fourth Quarter

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According to a 2011 remodeling and decorating study released by Houzz, Americans increased their home improvement activity around closets and entryways in the fourth quarter, while pools, patios and landscapes fall off the radar until spring.

A leading community and platform for residential design, Houzz analyzed the behavior of the company’s website and mobile app users in the U.S. and Canada to develop the study. The data provides unique insights into the type and relative volume of planning and research activity occurring for specific home improvement projects, insights that can help guide the marketing efforts of home design professionals, retailers and manufacturers. The findings also reveal that while kitchens and baths top the list for home remodeling and decorating in most cities, other priority projects, like family rooms and outdoor spaces, vary by city and region.

The recent study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University stated that home remodeling activity is expected to remain weak through the first half of the New Year. So in this economy, where are people focusing their home improvement efforts?

Regional Preferences and Priorities

In North America in 2011, kitchens and baths are the first and second most popular areas of the home for remodeling and decorating projects; bedrooms and living rooms rank third and fourth, respectively. However looking at the data by market reveals some striking differences:

  • Most major metros make kitchens the top priority, but Los Angeles and Miami gave bathrooms the top spot;
      
  • In fifth place of the top five home improvement priorities:
      
  • Dining in style takes the cake in Dallas, Miami and New York;
      
  • Family rooms are the focus for Boston and Chicago;
      
  • Landscaping is big in Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco;
      
  • Minneapolis and Seattle residents are thinking about home design and curb appeal
      
  • San Francisco, Seattle and Miami prefer modern or contemporary kitchens; other metros opt for more traditional styling.

“Our remodeling and decorating user study suggests that despite a weak forecast for home improvement, people are still actively researching, planning, and moving forward with remodeling and decorating their homes,” said Liza Hausman, Houzz vice president of marketing. “Consumer activity on Houzz.com reflects how people are prioritizing their projects. Closets and entryways have climbed five spots in the rankings during the fourth quarter, which leads us to believe that Americans are prioritizing entertaining and organizing for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming entrance and de-cluttering for the New Year.”

“It is our hope that home design and building professionals, retailers and manufacturers will be able to use these insights to better market to their target clients, build their business and succeed in a tough economy,” Hausman added.

About the Houzz 2011 Remodeling and Decorating Study: The Houzz study analyzed aggregated activity of users of the Houzz website and app from January through December 2011. Data sampled was between 10,000 and 50,000 users for each of 50 North American metros.

About Houzz: Houzz is a leading online community for home design enthusiasts, bringing together homeowners and home design professionals of all disciplines across more than 50 U.S. and international metros. The Houzz site www.houzz.com and mobile app feature more than 200,000 high-quality interior and exterior photos, thousands of engaging articles written by design experts, product recommendations, social tools to manage the remodeling and decorating process, and information on more than 30,000 design professionals who can help turn ideas into reality.

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