Milwaukee home remodelers flourish

Southeastern Wisconsin’s home remodeling industry is rebounding strongly in 2014, according to a new survey of the members of the Milwaukee chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry Home Improvement Council Inc.

The survey shows a sales increase for more than 69 percent of the respondents for the first six months of 2014.

David Pekel, president of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, said, “The continued improvement in the area’s economy has positively impacted consumers, which in turn has enabled Milwaukee/NARI members to remain busy providing a wide range of renovation services. We are seeing homeowners anxious to make improvements to their home and they are turning to Milwaukee/NARI members to complete those projects. The type of work being completed is a good mix of projects that address maintenance and repairs, along with work that is larger in scope that addresses homeowners’ desires for more space or amenities. It is clear that homeowners are seeking renovations and products that positively change a home’s energy efficiency and impact on the environment.”

Milwaukee/NARI members reported several leading trends within the industry, including:

  • Continued increased renovation to kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Additional integration of security systems into remodeling projects.
  • Increase in larger scale projects, including whole house remodeling and additions.
  • Replacing old hot tubs.
  • Continued use of more efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment.

Among the survey highlights:

  • Sixty-nine percent of the respondents said there was an increase in the average project cost completed for homeowners in 2014 when compared with 2013, and 31 percent said the project cost remained the same.
  • Forty-seven percent of the respondents said the average project cost completed in the first half of 2014 was between $10,000 and $75,000, while the same percentage said the average project cost was between $1,000 and $10,000.
  • Contractors continue to list referrals (81 percent) and past customers (81 percent) most often as the reasons that contracts are signed.
  • Of those that had an increase in sales in the first half of 2014 when compared with the same period in 2013, 41 percent said increased marketing was one of the primary causes, while 34 percent cited improved economic conditions as one of the primary causes.
  • Of those that said sales were up in 2014, 39 percent specialize in interior remodeling projects, while 25 percent do a combination of interior and exterior projects.
  • Sales volume for 56 percent of the respondents was more than $500,000 in the first half of the year, while 13 percent had sales between $250,000 and $500,000, and 16 percent had sales between $100,000 and $250,000.
  • Contractors indicated that 51 percent of their business was done with “baby boomers” (age 48-66), while Generation X (age 34-47) comprised 31 percent of the work, “matures” (age 67 and up) were at 12 percent, and Generation Y (age 33 and younger) was at 6 percent.
  • 70 percent of customers paid for the remodeling products/services in cash or with a check, while 17 percent paid with a credit card and 12 percent used financing.

The survey was conducted on behalf of NARI by Ron Sonntag Public Relations Inc., a full service public relations and marketing agency.

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