Houzz Inc. released the Q2 2017 Houzz Renovation Barometer, which tracks confidence in the home renovation market among industry professionals. The Q2 2017 Barometer reflected high quarter-over-quarter confidence for all industry sectors including architects, designers, general contractors (GCs)/remodelers, design-build, specialty building/renovation and specialty landscape/outdoor, with readings of 63* or higher. Expectations for Q3 are strong across all sectors.
Consistent with this positive outlook, firms are in high demand, as indicated by the new Houzz Renovation Barometer Backlog Index, which shows the number of weeks before an average firm can start work on a new mid-sized home renovation or design project given its current project commitments. The index revealed an average backlog of four to seven weeks across industry sectors. GCs/remodelers and design-build companies have the longest average backlogs nationally at seven weeks, and increasing to eight weeks in the West. Architects and companies in building and outdoor specialties report average delays of five to six weeks, while designers show four week backlogs on average.
“The Barometer is pointing to strong market conditions for home renovation professionals, with business confidence at similar levels observed this time last year,” said Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. “Western firms stand out with an uptick in confidence year-over-year and backlogs of more than three months, in large part driven by strong job markets and significant home price appreciation over the past few years in urban centers.”
Regional Backlog Variance
Backlogs vary significantly among the top 20 metro areas. In the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH metro, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA metro, Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA metro, and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA metro, GCs and design-build companies face backlogs of more than three months (13-14 weeks). In contrast, remodelers in Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI, Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI, and Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX metro areas have the shortest delays and are able to start work on a new mid-sized project within a month (three to four weeks), on average.
Shift to Big-Ticket Projects
As the outlook across the renovation industry remains positive, home professionals continue to report a shift in their project mix towards larger-scale and higher-end projects, contributing to increased business activity. Half of GCs/remodelers and design-build companies report a year-over-year increase in kitchen and/or bathroom renovations in the first half of 2017 (49 percent**). Furthermore, a significant share of remodelers report an increase in homeowners tackling multiple projects at the same time (38 percent), purchasing high-end products (30 percent) and working on fixer-upper homes (27 percent). Demand for smart home technology also continues to increase, as reported by 34 percent of professionals, along with aging in place projects (33 percent) and energy-efficiency projects (28 percent).
Strong Year-Over-Year Confidence
The Renovation Barometer posted high year-over-year readings of 65-78 in Q2 of 2017, indicating strong optimism about continued year-over-year gains in the home renovation market. These scores are also in line with Q1 2017 scores (65-77).