Recent data reveals homeowners shopping for home improvement services lean toward pulling back as the current economic climate sparks high stress.
The survey, conducted by Modernize Home Services, questioned more than 500 homeowners actively considering home improvement projects about their sentiments towards the economy, rising prices, and their homes.
Though stress comes with any home project, the survey discovered that 75% of surveyed homeowners reported high-stress levels regarding decisions relating to their home, selecting their levels of stress as “More than I can even handle” and “A lot of stress, tough to manage.”
Before the current economic landscape, characterized by decades-low market drops and interest rates pushing 6.0%, the service causing homeowners the most stress was roofing projects. Today, that high stress reaches across all services, says Modernize.
Largest Stressors for Homeowners
Inflation, interest rates, job security, and contractor availability are the factors most impacting homeowners’ decisions to start home improvement projects. A whopping 85% of respondents agreed that “Inflationary pricing right now puts supplies and labor costs out of reach on my budget.”
A big impact on budgets are also the rising interest rates on home improvement loans, according to survey findings.
Job Security Fears
Homeowners also express stressors impacting their personal finances aside from project budgets: 77% reported concern about job security or income.
Construction Materials Costs
May’s consumer price index reported a yearly increase of 8.6%, the highest level since December 1981, and these inflating prices of both building materials and contractor services were the most common stressor amongst respondents at 21%.
Rising gas prices emerged as the second-highest stressor, with 20% of respondents attributing their high stress to costs at the pump. Overall interest rates and the impact of the weather/climate were reported as top stressors by 16% and 14% of respondents, respectively.
Consumers More Stressed Now Than 2020
At the onset of the pandemic, consumer sentiment dropped significantly, as did the construction industry’s, yet both took a surprising turn. Stress levels from the unknown and business closures sparked by the pandemic still do not match the levels of stress homeowners feel now, according to the survey. Just 19% of homeowners reported feeling the same stress level today as they did at the onset of the pandemic, and 57% reported feeling much worse or somewhat worse.
Will Home Improvement Stressors Soften Demand?
With high costs being the largest stressor among 20% of respondents, it’s also the prime reason homeowners may delay home improvement projects.
The top barrier to proceeding with home improvement projects for 69% of surveyed homeowners is the higher cost of supplies. Another 14% say coping with project management overall is their biggest hurdle.
But will these costs truly keep homeowners from starting their projects? The survey points towards yes. Survey data found that 40% of homeowners said, “there is no way I can afford to accomplish any home improvement plans right now in this economic and supply chain environment.”
Amongst all types of home improvement projects, window projects were found to cause the lowest confidence among homeowners at 47%.
Windows have long remained one of the materials with the longest lead times and significant effects on construction schedules. Lead times have doubled, sometimes tripled, for windows due to shortages of window parts.
And in contrast to points of higher new home prices fueling remodel demand, 70% of homeowners said, “With home values going up anyway, it’s not sensible to make repairs/upgrades now.”