Remodels also on the rise
If buying a home isn't an option right now, a remodel might be just what you need.
But there also are plenty of homeowners who aren't in a financial position to move, or maybe they're simply happy staying put regardless of the more affordable homes on the market.
So what are they doing instead? They're getting ready for that upcoming staycation and getting to work remodeling, with baby boomers leading the resurgence.
According to ServiceMagic.com's home remodeling and repair index of its 1.3 million service requests in the second quarter, homeowners are feeling the itch to remodel again after larger projects were put on hold as the economy continued to go south during the first quarter.
And with talk of an economy on the cusp of recovery, they're ready to put some money into their home to improve its value, as well as their own quality of life.
"People are looking at their homes as longer-term investments and doing a lot more routine maintenance and long-term maintenance," said Craig Smith, chief executive of ServiceMagic.com.
The two rooms that are remodeled most often, the kitchen and the bathroom, are getting some love again in the second quarter after the first quarter saw remodels of them fall 10% and 19%, respectively, from the same time a year ago.
In the second quarter, kitchen remodeling went up 4% compared with the second quarter of 2008, and bathroom remodeling rose 11%.
"People are willing to invest quite considerably in their kitchen," Smith said. "It's the center point for most people's homes." And he said master bathrooms are also a focus of remodels because of the perceived value it will add to the home.
I suppose, for some people, lounging in the bathroom can be considered a staycation, especially if you have one of these fabulous bathrooms. But for me, it's all about the kitchen. No, cooking is not a chore, it's pure bliss!
Of course, I'm also a big fan of some quality TV time, and it looks like plenty of other consumers are, too. The index also found that remodels on home theater and computer rooms went up 29% over the second quarter of 2008. If you can't afford to go to Hawaii, at least you can pretend while watching "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" over and over again on HD.
"Staycations remain a pretty hot trend in what people are doing in their homes," Smith said. Not only are they sprucing up the indoors for entertaining, but Smith said more people also added awnings in the second quarter, all the better to take the party outdoors, too.
Meanwhile, moving requests went down 42%, in line with the first quarter's decline of 38%, and house additions and requests for multiple rooms are both down 14% in the second quarter, signaling that most people still are not quite willing to take on a large-scale project.
Need a little help with that kitchen or bath remodel? It's not too late to check out Consumer Reports' "Top kitchen and bath styles" from August, which focuses on eco-friendly products for the kitchen and bath.
Got a story to share about your remodel experience? Do tell!
(ServiceMagic.com is a MSN Real Estate partner.)
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.