It seems like every home improvement and hardware store is facing an inventory shortage in most major product categories. Why is that? Could it be that the recent COVID pandemic is the direct cause of pent-up demand for DIY projects? Additionally, is it possible that people who have been out of work for more than a year have decided to renovate the home they already own rather than buy a new one?
Those are both fair questions, one that remodeling contractors in Northern Virginia understand well. Each question sheds light on why more people are remodeling their houses in 2021, compared to the past several years. It’s a fact that there are multiple economic effects from any kind of health pandemic. A few of the central effects from COVID include the following:
- The repercussions were global
- COVID was the most economically damaging virus since 1918’s Spanish flu
- Dozens of national governments doled out special payments to those who were put out of work as a direct result of the virus
- Millions of people all over the world pondered ways to save money and prepare for a possible “second wave” or for another pandemic
- The two industries hardest hit by the virus were hospitality companies and travel-related firms
The Remodeling Surge Began During the Pandemic
From mid-2021 onward, most economists believe that the home improvement, remodeling, and renovation sectors will see continued positive development in terms of total sales.
But one of the unique aspects of the segment is that it began to do better than average during, not just after, the spread of COVID. That boost in profits started around the beginning of the second quarter of 2020, when the virus was at its peak. Now, as of mid-2021, the home improvement sector is the healthiest of all retail sub-categories of the economy.
Why Are People Remodeling Now?
Even though the pandemic has not completely subsided, the upswing in home improvement projects that began last summer is continuing. But, there are many reasons, not all of them apparent. They include the following:
- Seasonal Timing: The lead-up to summer is always an active time in the home improvement market. Many working adults take their longer vacations from June through August. During those off-work days, a sizable percentage of homeowners undertake minor and major remodeling projects.
So, in addition to the pandemic-related reasons for the increase in remodeling jobs, there’s the mere fact that the several weeks before the official start of summer typically sees an uptick in work of this kind by homeowners of all income levels.
- Price of Supplies: It’s no secret that inflation has arrived, and with almost as much force as last year’s virus. After several years of low-to-no inflationary pressure in the home improvement sector, higher prices are now a reality. Consumers need only view the nightly news to get a clear understanding of the fact that the summer months will not see any abatement of rising expenses for home remodeling jobs, DIY or otherwise. Indeed, local contractors all over the country have already upped their price lists for all sorts of jobs, and that includes the raw cost of supplies as well as hourly labor. No one can say when the current spate of inflation will die down.
- Buying is Too Costly: New home prices are rising, which means that thousands of potential buyers have been literally priced out of the market. What do folks do when they can’t afford a new home? In most cases, they choose to make the one they already own more comfortable. That translates into more small-scale improvements, renovations, and remodeling tasks. The most common include new roofs, solar panels, bathroom remodeling, new kitchens, and various room “make-overs”.
- Free Time: When people are out of work, or just working from home instead of from a distant office, they have more time on their hands. What better way to use some of those hours than to begin a minor remodeling job on the home, preferably to an extra bedroom that’s recently been converted into a home office.
- Sellers Need Help: People who have decided to take advantage of higher home prices have a powerful incentive to remodel. It’s the most cost-efficient way to spruce up an older home and get it ready for market. Remodeling work can slice months off the time a house might sit, unsold, on the real estate listings.
Why Now Is the Best Time to Remodel
Why should homeowners remodel now? Two main reasons point to the good sense of going out and purchasing supplies asap and getting underway within the month. First, unlike last year, the U.S. economy is facing a very real bout of another kind of illness, namely inflation.
Purchasing home improvement supplies now is a smart way to beat inevitable summer and fall price increases. Plus, for people who live in warm-weather areas, outdoor projects can be pretty uncomfortable during the oppressive heat of July and August. Anyone who resided in Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California, or Texas will attest to that fact without the slightest argument.
So, anyone who’s even considering a remodel or minor home improvement project should get busy making plans, buying the necessary supplies, and starting the work before prices and temperatures begin to rise.
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