Study Finds 25% Increase In Major Home Renovation Projects In First Half Of 2021 Compared To End Of 2020

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Pandemic renovation activity up significantly in the South, West, and Midwest; slows in the Northeast.

Branchville, N.J. — Home renovations have increased since the start of 2021, with over half (55%) of U.S. homeowners reporting substantial improvements that boost home values, according to a July survey commissioned by Selective Insurance and conducted by The Harris Poll. This is a 25% increase from a similar Selective and Harris Poll survey conducted in December 2020, indicating a current rise in home improvements despite headlines about supply chain delays, increasing cost of materials, and labor shortages.

The Selective study also found that the South leads the nation in home renovation activity, with 57% of homeowners reporting significant home improvements. The prevalence of home renovations by region follows: Northeast (54%, down from 56% in December 2020), South (57%, up from 40% in December 2020), Midwest (52%, up from 42% in December 2020), and the West (55%, up from 43% in December 2020).

“Selective’s study on home renovations reinforces our observations, based on customer interactions, that the current housing and renovation boom remains strong,” said Allen Anderson, Senior Vice President, Personal Lines, Selective. “Every home renovation project is unique, but every homeowner needs to protect their investment from future loss. Independent insurance agents help homeowners evaluate their coverage needs and update their insurance to reflect their renovated home’s full replacement value.”

Among homeowners who improved their homes during the pandemic, just under a quarter (23%) said they hadn’t updated their insurance coverage and another 10% said they were unsure.

Additional Insights and Findings

According to the Selective study, U.S. homeowners have been increasingly investing in their properties since the beginning of the pandemic, with the following major home improvement projects reported:

  • 36% are renovating a room/basement/attic
  • 12% are adding a new room
  • 17% are adding a pool/hot tub

Selective saw similar trends among customers who operate contracting businesses. An analysis of Selective’s active commercial liability insurance policies identified a 5-10% increase in residential construction payroll and an approximately 15% increase in subcontracting costs year over year from 2019 through 2021. These indicators underscore continued home improvement activity well into 2021 and across the company’s commercial lines footprint.