WILMINGTON, DEL. — More than 123 million home improvement projects, not including routine maintenance, were carried out in the United States in 2013-2015 in 43.9 million households. This accounts for a total of more than $431.1 billion dollars in expenses, according to the latest data released from the 2015 American Housing Survey, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Fixr.com, a site that provides cost guides, comparisons, and term cheat sheets for remodeling, installation and repair projects, analyzed the AHS data to determine how Americans are spending their money on home improvements. Around one-third, or 33.6 percent, of owner-occupied units completed at least one home improvement project for energy-efficiency purposes, 6.8 percent to improve accessibility for an elderly person or person with a disability, and 3.5 percent carried out at least one project to prepare the home for sale.
The median expenditure per job was $1,200, and out of all the home improvement projects, nearly 62 percent were carried out by professionals, while the remaining 38 percent were DIY. Moreover, 77.5 percent of respondents used cash savings as the primary source for funding these projects.
Americans spent 27.6 percent for projects such as water pipes, plumbing fixtures, heating upgrades and electrical wiring, among other interior fixes. In this category, upgrades to HVAC equipment represent 9.3 percent of total expenditures with an average of $3,092, which is above the median.
Kitchen remodeling accounted for 10.9 percent or projects and bathroom remodeling, 8.7 percent. The remaining expenditures were as follows: exterior additions and replacements, 27.9 percent; lot or yard additions, 12.4 percent; disaster repairs, 5 percent; and other room additions and renovations, 7.4 percent.
Fixr.com compared historical data from the 2011 and 2013 surveys and found that despite a decline in home improvement expenses from 2012 to 2013, the latest numbers show a very considerable upturn.