Yenra : Home : Home Improvement : Americans Continue to Improve Their Homes

It's become the modern day love affair with a recurring honeymoon of decorating and maintaining. The trend toward investing in the home, routine remodeling and the desire to improve has led the American D-I-Yer to a fixation with home improvement.

These findings from the latest Lowe's Trendex, a quarterly survey of 500 homeowners conducted by Harris Interactive, provide a current gauge of homeowners' repeat remodeling and improvement spending attitudes.

Trendex research reaffirms homeowners' faith in the home as a good investment opportunity. Even though the S & P 500 is up 11.6 percent in the first half of 2003, 81 percent of homeowners (down only one percentage point from 2002) say they consider their home to be a better long-term investment than the stock market. What's more is that homeowners are steadily investing in their homes, spending an average of more than $3,700 on home improvement projects in the past year -- up $500 from February.

"The re-renovating trend is taking the mainstream home improvement industry by storm," said Greg Bridgeford, Lowe's senior vice president of business development. "People depend on their homes -- and at a time of low interest rates plus a marketplace filled with affordable, innovative products, homeowners recognize they can increase the value and enjoyment of their homes by renovating and remodeling time and again."

When Americans aren't at home, home isn't far from their thoughts. Nearly half (46 percent) of all homeowners surveyed say they most enjoy spending time in home improvement stores, followed by bookstores (23 percent), clothing and department stores (17 percent) and music stores (6 percent).

The passion for home continues as 58 percent of homeowners say they like to work on home improvement projects -- it's something they enjoy doing, and only one-third (33 percent) say they only do home improvement projects because they have to. The average American homeowner is planning 2.1 improvement projects this summer.

As homeowners propel the remodeling trend, energy-efficiency also is top of mind this year. In light of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's predictions for rising natural gas prices, saving money and energy go hand-in- hand with home improvement.

According to 58 percent of homeowners, lowering utility bills and saving money is the greatest motivating factor for having an energy-efficient home. Only 21 percent cite consuming less energy and improving the environment as motivators for implementing more energy-efficient measures at home.

"The majority (56 percent) of homeowners believe they will continue to spend as much or more on home improvement in the next 12 months," said Bridgeford. "That falls in line with trends we've seen over the past 57 years we've been in the industry."