The 10 house details borrowers are spending their money on

by 09 Dec 2014
U.S. households are unhappy with their current living situations and they’re planning on doing something about it.

According to the Demand Institute, one in three U.S. households plan to move in the five years. Americans will spend more than $7.4 trillion on home purchases and $2.2 trillion on rent as they seek better places to live. They will also spend more than $700 billion renovating their current homes.

The recent Demand Institute survey also showed over 10,000 households delved into a broad range of unmet housing-related desires in America — gaps between what Americans have and what they say they need or want.

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The 10 details residents most want in living spaces are energy efficiency, renovation abilities, updated kitchens and finishes, homes they can grow old in, safer communities, affordable housing, privacy, storage, responsive landlords and homes worth investing in.

It is these characteristics that are influencing households to either move and buy, buy and rent or stay and renovate.

Increased Energy Efficiency

Average household spending on electricity has increased 56% since 2000 according to the report. As this expense has outgrown any other house-related cost, residents are looking for a more cost-effective way out. Thirty five percent say they are satisfied with their current home, while 71% say this is an important feature. That leaves a 36% gap from those satisfied, with those still looking for a better way. Fifty one percent of households would consider buying an energy-use monitor.

Renovation Ready

More than 78% of households in the U.S. are in need of repairs. According to the survey, there is a 26% satisfaction gap between those who say it’s important and those who say their house is up to par. The five home improvement tasks that are likely to happen in the next three years are painting walls—30% say they will complete, replace carpeting/flooring (25%), remodel bathroom (20%), remodel kitchen (18%) and replace windows/doors (17%).

Updated kitchens and finishes

 According to the report, the kitchen will likely be a catalyst in home renovation activity. Americans are reporting to be cooking and eating at home more now, yet there is a 24% satisfaction gap in happiness with how updated household kitchens are. In 2013, occupants spent $26.9 billion on appliances, a spending rate less than one billion below the total appliance purchases in 2007.
Updating kitchens with “smart” appliances is one way to meet this demand. According to the report, 49% of homeowners would consider purchasing this.

Aging-Friendly Homes

Accounting for almost every $1 out of every $4 spent on home purchases and rent according to the Demand Institute’s Baby Boomer report, age-appropriate homes are an opportune market. Seventy six percent of households say it’s important to have a home to grow older in, but only 53% say they are satisfied in their current residence. Those 50 years and older say the following characteristics are very important in a potential home: low maintenance and upkeep (76%), single-story home (57%) and accessibility features (37%).

Safe Streets

 With a satisfaction gap of 22%, households are looking for places with neighborhood security options, as well as more affordable home-security systems. Two-thirds of households in non-urban areas report that their neighborhoods have become less safe and 21% of overall households report the same thing.

Affordable Housing

About 40 million U.S. households carry the ‘cost burden’, a large portion of it falling on renters. According to CNN Money, one in every three Americans lives in a market where rent for a three-bedroom home takes more than 30% of the monthly median income. Yet renters reported to be the main drivers in creating a satisfaction gap for Demand Institute’s tenth reason why occupants are looking—having a home as an investment.
Twenty one percent of households are unsatisfied with their current housing budget.


Americans are looking for more space between their home and their neighbors’ place. According to the report, 21% of households wish they had more privacy. As 54% of houses claim to be spending more time at home, this will be a top concern for those looking.

More Space 

Storage space is a common concern for 52% of houses. In 2013 the median size of new single-family homes reached 2,384 square feet, but 20% of houses say their living quarters does not have a lot of storage space.
According to the report, this will be a key reason to renovate as well.

Receptive Landlords

The U.S. has added over 5 million renter households since 2006 according to the report. A helpful landlord in those rental properties is a key reason to stay. Only 28% out of 47% say they are satisfied with their landlord’s response to maintenance requests.

Homes as Investments

Despite the loss in home value from 2006 to 2012, U.S. residents continue to view homeownership as an important investment. Seventy seven percent of those surveyed say it’s an ‘excellent investment.’ Renters are those most unsatisfied in this area, as 53% of them hope to purchase homes. Overall, 18% say their current residences are not a good long-term investment.


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