Trends to Watch with home prices high and mortgage rates more than double that of last year, fewer Americans are buying homes these days. Instead, they’re choosing to stay put – repairing, renovating and improving the properties they already have to better fit their lifestyle and needs.
In fact, according to data from home services platform Thumbtack, 9 out of 10 current homeowners are planning to improve their property in some way over the next year. Another 65% have plans to turn their existing house into their “dream home.”
As David Steckel, Trends to Watch home expert at Thumbtack, puts it, “Home renovations seem to be top of mind right now.”
1. Energy updates
Updates that improve a home’s energy efficiency are primed to surge Trends to Watch in 2023. The reason is twofold: First, these home improvements reduce energy and utility bills – offering a much-needed reprieve during times of high inflation.
Second, there’s the Inflation Reduction Act to think about. The legislation passed in August offers up a slew of tax credits and other incentives for Americans who go green, so many will be looking to capitalize on these money-saving opportunities before they run out.
For those looking to increase their home’s energy efficiency, experts say the options run the gamut. Some homeowners will opt for better insulation, better windows or smart thermostats, while others will choose to install electric vehicle chargers or solar panels. In the last year, Thumbtack alone has seen a 33% spike in solar panel installations booked through its platform.
“A typical electric bill for our house was $350 per month, and after installing solar panels, it’s now down to $18 month,” says Victor Body-Lawson, founding principal at architecture and planning firm Body Lawson Associates in New York. “Plus, there are federal and state incentives now, as well as new tax incentives, which reduce the upfront cost of solar power and other similar projects.”
Homeowners will also move to reduce water consumption in the new year, too. This can be done by installing low-flow toilets and showerheads or through careful landscaping changes, like swapping traditional grass lawns for xeriscaping or native plants.
2. Bathroom and kitchen updates
Bathroom and kitchen updates have long been renovating favorites. Not only do they deliver high returns on investment (minor kitchen remodels have the third-best renovation ROI of all projects, according to Remodeling Magazine), but they’re also impactful updates that improve a home’s look and function.
“Renovating a home’s kitchen is always a fan favorite, because it’s a space that we occupy often – whether we’re busy preparing food during the holidays or gathering with family for Sunday brunch,” says Elizabeth Krueger, owner of Elizabeth Krueger Design in Chicago.
Kitchen renovations have also been particularly popular in the post-pandemic period, as more and more Americans continue to work from home.
3. Cosmetic updates and necessary repairs
Inflation is high, and many consumers are cash-strapped, so high-dollar projects? Those just aren’t possible for every homeowner.
For those on tighter budgets, experts say a key home improvement trend in 2023 will be about making repairs – often, ones that were put off or delayed due to contract backups or supply chain delays.
“We’ve actually seen a major spike in demand for repair and maintenance projects that went ignored,” Steckel says. “These projects include small fixes like switch and outlet repairs, emergency plumbing and duct and vent repairs.”
4. Addressing natural disasters and climate changes
From hurricanes and wildfires to earthquakes and floods, the number of disaster events has risen steeply in recent years, putting more and more homeowners – and their properties – at risk.
“Unfortunately, climate change and global warming are driving more maintenance and repair projects right now,” Steckel says. “From extreme weather to natural disasters, 42% of homeowners say they have undertaken a home improvement project due to climate challenges.”
In 2023, experts predict consumers will continue making home improvements to protect their homes from these events and make them more resilient in the long term. This might include raising properties located in flood zones, adding hurricane windows in coastal communities or updating landscaping with fire-resistant options.
5. Expanding outdoor space
Finally, experts say, homeowners will be looking to maximize their outdoor spaces and make way for more useful, functional spaces there.
“After spending a few years at home, a lot of homeowners are seeking outside experiences,” Krueger says. “We’re not only seeing more money spent on travel but also a continued interest in renovating exterior spaces of the home. This might include the addition of a deck, patio or porch for entertainment and relaxation purposes.”