Despite economy, many considering home improvement

Inman News

Despite the weak conditions in the housing market, more than two-thirds of Americans said they would complete a home improvement project in 2008, according to a recent poll by

ServiceMagic, an online marketplace that connects consumers with prescreened and customer-rated home service professionals, found that 69 percent of those surveyed would improve their home this year, while 31 percent said they would likely go through with a home improvement after some careful consideration and possibly a delay.

“Some people do seem to be worried that now may not be the best time to invest in a large project,” said ServiceMagic CEO Craig Smith. “However … we are also seeing a soft housing market drive some home improvements as folks choose to stay in their current home and improve it instead of selling into a weak resale market.”

Some 65 percent said that if presented with the option they would “stay and improve” their home, compared with 26 percent who would “just stay” without improving. Only 8 percent would choose to move.

Approximately 59 percent of poll respondents said they have a home improvement project planned for 2008. But as the poll revealed, 31 percent of respondents will consider current economic conditions when deciding on whether to proceed with planning a home improvement project. That 31 percent breaks down like this:

  • 21 percent say they will likely postpone their project
  • 7 percent say though pausing to consider, they’ll likely proceed with their plans
  • 3 percent say they’re abandoning their plans all together

And of those who say they plan to postpone their next project:

  • 7 percent say they’ll wait 2-3 months
  • 17 percent say they’ll wait 3-6 months
  • 46 percent say they’ll wait 6-12 months
  • 30 percent say they’ll wait 12-plus months

Howard Molen, a general contractor from Mamaroneck, N.Y., said that he has already felt the backlash of the current economic situation, saying that “… people have been canceling. The phones aren’t ringing as much.”

The poll data was collected through an 11-city survey conducted by, with 2,162 consumers responding.