Homeowners are increasingly living out their HGTV fantasies by remodeling their homes, with a particular focus on taking their kitchen and bathrooms from drab to fab. Homeowners spent the most on renovating their kitchen, at a median $14,000 in 2018, according to a recent survey from Houzz, a design and remodeling website. That spend surged 27% from 2017; the previous year, it had risen 10%.

More than 140,000 people participated in the annual survey that looked at 2018 remodeling spending and trends. Folks also poured money into their guest and master bathrooms. The median spending on those rooms jumped 17% and 14%, respectively. Overall, 51% of homeowners surveyed said they planned to continue or start renovations on their homes, according to the Houzz report. They expect to shell out a median $10,000 this year.

Home Improvement Spending Growth is Beginning to Slow

Nationally, the amount of money people has been spending on home improvements has begun to moderate. In half of the largest 50 markets, homeowners spent less fixing up their homes than they did the previous year. They spent more in only six markets and their priority in spending was the kitchen and bathrooms.

The growth of the home improvement market has been phenomenal in the last five years. It’s been hovering around 7% to 9% annually. That’s just not a sustainable pace. Researchers at Harvard University don’t expect homeowners to spend less in 2019, but growth will slow in 29 of the 49 largest metropolitan areas. Conversely, the center expects people will spend more in areas where home prices and homebuilding are rising.

Metras with cooling home prices and sales activity are not able to sustain the same pace of investment in home improvements as in recent years. The projections show especially pronounced slowing in markets such as San Antonio, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Dallas.

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