With construction down, homeowners are investing in their properties and staying put

November 25, 2018 - 2 min read

Remodeling and ADUs on the rise

It seems Americans are taking the country’s housing woes into their own hands. With construction down and inventory still low, new data shows homeowners are investing more in remodeling and building accessory dwelling units to make up for it.

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Investing at home

According to the October Housing Health Report from BuildFax, new construction leaves something to be desired, but investment in existing housing stock is high. Remodeling spend has jumped 4.21 percent over the last year, and spending on home maintenance has increased as well.

According to BuildFax CEO Holly Tachovsky, rising mortgage rates and lagging income growth are behind much of this trend.

“Home prices are outpacing wage growth substantially,” Tachovsky said. “These affordability concerns are compounded by mounting mortgage rates and rising construction costs. As a result, homeowners, unable to re-enter the housing market, are reinvesting in their existing properties. The increase in remodel spend suggests the scope of these projects has risen, despite seeing a dip in remodel volume. Homeowners may feel unprepared to enter the housing market, but they are making larger investments in the health of their existing property.”

Minnesota has seen the highest amount of home maintenance activity over the last year, while Missouri has experienced the biggest growth in this area. Missouri homeowners have spent 14.86 percent more on home maintenance than last year.

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ADUs up — especially on the West Coast

Homeowners are also spending cash on building accessory dwelling units — sometimes called granny flats — which they then rent out on Airbnb, to tenants or use for housing friends and family members.

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ADUs are particularly popular in places with fast-growing populations and high-cost housing markets, like Oregon, Washington and California. Permits for ADU construction have jumped 53.7 percent since the start of 2018.

ADU permits are up 25.9 percent year-to-date, while Washington’s are close behind at 21.99 percent. California has had the highest volume of ADU permitting since 2016.

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Aly J. Yale
Authored By: Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor
Aly J. Yale is a mortgage and real estate writer based in Houston who has contributed to Forbes and worked for organizations such as The Dallas Morning News, PBS, NBC, and Radio Disney.