Americans are on a multibillion-dollar home remodeling binge that will soon find them spending more to fix up old houses than to build new ones, according to a survey released Wednesday.
The favorite remodeling target is the kitchen, followed by bathrooms, room additions and porch enclosures, according to Professional Builder magazine, which published the survey.
This year Americans will spend $104.7 billion on remodeling for both professional and do-it-yourself projects, an economist for the magazine estimated. That compares to a projection of $139.7 billion for residential construction in 1989.
At some point, probably in the mid-'90s, the remodeling figure will outstrip spending for new construction, the magazine said.
One factor in the trend is that 60% of the homes in the United States were built prior to 1970. In addition many are owned by members of the post-World War II "baby boom" generation who have money to spend and are attached to the neighborhoods and schools in areas where they live.
According to the survey, which covered a representative sample of 819 home owners, the average home remodeling project will cost $5,000 next year and the most expensive project, a room addition, will cost an average of $15,000.