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INDUSTRY INSIGHTS & PREDICTIONS: A GLANCE BACK AT 2020 & ROSIE’S CAUTIONS FOR 2021

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“Looking back at 2020, we were surprised at what we saw in the remodeling industry”, says Rosie Romero. “We expected that remodeling trends would have shifted to updating home spaces for office and school. While homeowners tried to adapt their homes into schools and offices, we saw a continued trend in the demand for kitchen and bath remodels.” Other remodelers we talked to have experienced the same demand and have seen an up uptick in leads. Homebound homeowners search the internet and are curious about what they can do to improve their at-home experience. Not only have these trends continued, they have continued with vigor. People who decide to move forward with a remodel are presenting their need with a new intensity. I.E., they want it done yesterday or at the very least, tomorrow!

In the first days of the pandemic there was much panic about what was in-store for the construction industry. However, after the initial downturn of March and April, concerns began to dissipate as far as home improvement was concerned. According to the Qualified Remodeler Magazine, projections for home renovation and repair will be up 4.1% for the first 2 quarters of 2021 and 1.7% for the rest of the year. Homeowners continue to spend time in their home and adapting it for work, school and leisure while at the same time, the surge in DIY and small projects continues to be strong.

Rosie agrees that the remodeling trend will remain sturdy throughout 2021 due to current low interest rates and the amount of home equity driven by the high demand for Arizona homes. Maricopa County, the second largest and most populated county in Arizona experienced a 1.85% growth rate in 2020. In round numbers that translates to 83,100 people a year, 6900 people a month and 230 per day who choose the county as their home. While it is tempting for homeowners to sell during the current market, it is also costly to buy a new home which means that home improvement becomes a very practical choice.

Looking ahead:

Rosie explains that “we anticipate the trend of updating and renovating bathrooms and kitchens will prevail. We also anticipate an increase in home office spaces if the pandemic continues.” Other trends that will continue into 2021 have been observed by our certified partners:

  • Julie Sertich of Kirk Development Company said: “We had several requests that came from homeowners whose mom and dad are now in retirement homes and their sole purpose is to bring them home. To keep their family members safe and comfortable they will be adding mother-in-law suites with kitchenettes and bathrooms.”

This trend to add mother–in-law quarters has been on the rise and will continue. The pandemic has taught us that to keep mom and dad accessible, we may need to bring them home to live with or near us.

  • John Reuter, owner of Assurance Builders in Tucson tells us: “Some of our clients are choosing to do projects that don’t require workers to be in the home for long periods of time, like door and window replacement. We also had several calls to create extra space with the addition of a free-standing garage.”

If you find yourself being one of the many who aspires to update in the coming year be aware of these pandemic specific guidelines:

Plan ahead for your home update:

Anticipate delays due to manufacturing and availability:

General contractors rely on product availability. “Countertops from manufacturers, plumbing faucets, cabinets and more should all be ordered and on the job site BEFORE demolition begins”, says Reuter. Manufacturing was halted or at least minimized during the initial shutdown, but over a short amount of time construction was declared to be an essential business, homeowners regained confidence, and construction resumed. Reuter stated that, “manufacturing, however, has struggled to catch up and, I suspect, we have depleted many product reserves. The impact of limiting manufacturing workers for social distancing as well as the high demand and shortage of drivers for delivery also will play a part in delays.” Reuters advice to homeowners is to keep a graceful attitude. Choose a reputable contractor and prioritize your products and choose the most effective path to completion.

Expect higher prices:

High demand and lower supply from manufacturers will drive costs up for many products. For Example, the National Association of Home Builders says that lumber prices have seen the largest four month gain since 1949. The cost increase is a whopping 14.9% since August and 50% since April.

COVID precautions:

Talk to the contractor you are considering. What protocols do they have for COVID? Procedures to protect homeowners can potentially add time and may cause delay; plan for it. Make sure you are comfortable with the precautions they offer.

Buyer beware:

Always be cautious about new businesses. We advise homeowners to choose companies to do work at their home who have been in business at least five years. This is generally sufficient time to demonstrate that the business owner knows how to manage a business. Also, check to make sure that at the very least they are AZ ROC certified with no unresolved complaints, have happy customers in their wake and bank accounts in good standing. During periods of high growth and/or labor shortage, there are generally many startup companies that do not make it. It is estimated that 85% of new construction companies fail in the first year; you want to choose a company who will be around to service the warranty on your project!.

We are here for you!

“Remember that Rosie on the House is here for YOU, the Arizona homeowner. There is no shortage of ways to get the information from us that you need to make wise decisions in your home improvement projects!” – Rosie

Here is to a happy and healthy New Year for you and your family, from all of us at Rosie on the House!!

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