These are the Most Planned Home Projects of 2020

by Mischa Fisher, Chief Economist | February 2020

Last year in our State of Home Spending report, we asked homeowners what are the top three projects they plan to complete in 2020.

According to those homeowners, the top three most planned projects of 2020 are:

  • bathroom remodels,
  • landscaping,
  • and new flooring.

Over the past several years, we have consistently seen bathroom remodels as a top project both planned and actually completed. Bathroom remodels provide a nice balance between lifestyle improvements and ROI, while not incurring the price tag of a larger project like a major kitchen remodel

Landscaping is cost effective and allows consumers to focus on visual impact, ROI and even health and wellness to improve the functionality of their living spaces. This trend is especially prevalent with younger generations who are often limited in indoor square footage and are seeking to extend their livable space.

Finally, new flooring is popular because it not only has a high visual impact, it also adds texture, durability, and new functionality to living spaces. This project comes with a high degree of price flexibility for consumers given the broad range of flooring material choices available.

The Least Planned Home Improvement Projects

On the less popular side, the bottom three projects are installing an HVAC system, installing new siding, and building an addition, with fewer than 5% of consumers saying they planned these projects in 2020.

New siding and installing an HVAC system are both projects that can fall into the bucket of good investments, but are not always the most fun projects to take on.  Consumers tend to plan for more visually dramatic and impactful design projects like remodeling or curb appeal updates.  Siding and HVAC would more likely fall under the categories of fixing it when it needs to be fixed.

Additions are likely lower due to high average home additions cost of approximately $45,000 and potential permitting challenges, rather than the impact of the project.

Planned consumer spending in 2020 follows strong 2019 home service spending, with double digit year over year increases in outlays detailed in our annual State of Home Spending Report.

Reasons for Growth

Average Spending by Year

This remarkable year over year growth is driven by factors like demographics and macroeconomic growth.

Older generations, like the baby boomers, are preparing their homes to age in place while younger generations, like millennials, are updating their living spaces to suit the needs of their growing families. Also the aging housing stock continues to fuel the need for maintenance and upkeep while the healthy economy is growing incomes and purchasing power, making remodeling and home services relatively more affordable.

Project Planning

While 2019 was a strong year, the 2020 remodeling season is about to start, so consumers should be aware of a missed opportunity and a potential oversight in their planning for the upcoming year.

Although aesthetic projects are fun, homeowners could be missing out on the high return on investment when consumers replace exterior siding with a more stylistic and visually appealing veneer, which can be one of the best value home improvement projects consumers can undertake in terms of ROI.

Homeowners also could be neglecting important maintenance on critical home components like HVAC systems. Average home emergency spending in 2019 was only $416; however, many consumers were fortunate to have no home emergencies, lowering the overall average. Among those that did have a home emergency, spending was nearly three times higher at $1,206. Investments in preventative maintenance can potentially mitigate the effects of unexpected high home emergency costs.

Spending by Category


As the 2020 planning season for home improvement begins, there are two big takeaways:

  1. We can expect a continued healthy growth rate of consumers spending on homes for a range of reasons like growing incomes, new stage of life priorities, and a need to address our aging housing stock.
  2. While visually striking lifestyle improvement projects like landscaping, flooring, and bathroom remodels are the most popular, it’s important for both consumers and home service professionals to never neglect maintenance of critical systems like HVAC and central heating/cooling, or to weigh the benefits of high ROI projects like new siding and exterior veneers.