Survey Points to Changes in Homes


CHARLOTTE, NC — After a year in which “working from home” began to feel like “living at work,” America has undergone “a profound shift in its understanding of home,” driving homeowners to want more space, accommodate new uses and provide a better environment to nurture positive changes that evolved during the COVID-19 lockdown.

That’s the conclusion of the eighth annual “LightStream Home Improvement Trends Survey,” a major new poll which notes that nearly half of surveyed U.S. homeowners say they’re utilizing their home differently since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. More than two-thirds (69%) say that spending more time at home has made them eager to upgrade in order to address design and space frustrations they experienced while spending uninterrupted time indoors.

“Before the pandemic, ‘home’ was a ‘home base’ for launching activities (but) under stay-at-home orders, it became the only place for everything,” said Todd Nelson, senior v.p./strategic partnerships at LightStream, the Charlotte, NC-based online lending division of Truist Financial Corp.

“Our 2021 survey reveals that many Americans spent time thinking creatively about what they want and need from their homes,” Nelson said. “Many are now ready to invest in improvements, remodeling and repairs.”

The LightStream survey reports that 91% of respondents say a lack of space in their home became “a big frustration” during the COVID-19 experience.

Younger homeowners, in particular, say they wish they had more room. As a result, 12% of those with home improvement plans for 2021 are including a home addition, while 14% are planning a basement or attic remodel.

As spaces are being reimagined, the most popular projects homeowners plan to spend money on in 2021 include kitchen remodels (38%), outdoor improvements (35%), bathrooms remodels (32%) and home repair/technology upgrades (30%).

“There are many reasons why space utilization has become so important,” Nelson said, noting that the LightStream survey found that more than one-in-ten (12%) U.S. homeowners say the number of children or adults in their home has increased during the pandemic due to COVID-19 safety concerns (35%), health reasons (20%) or other changes.

Not surprisingly, three-in-four (72%) homeowners whose households have grown said they wish they had more personal space. Multi-generational families and traditional households (parents and their children) are more likely to undertake 2021 projects than homeowners without children (44% of each vs. 34%), the LightStream survey concluded. ▪