Porch dishes on home improvement trends
Porch.com has issued its latest quarterly Porch Data Trends Report, which leverages the home improvement site’s data to help homeowners stay abreast of trends in the industry.
"Similar to the first Porch Data Trends Report, we wanted to use unique data insights and analytics from the Porch network to help homeowners get the most out of their home, which for many is the biggest investment in their lives," said CEO Matt Ehrlichman. "As we transition into fall and winter, homeowners planning to sell or a buy a home should invest in the right home improvement projects to appeal to potential buyers, or to protect a recently purchased home."
Most notably, general contractors and handymen are consistently the most hired professionals before selling a home nationwide, indicating a trend toward small projects aimed at increasing selling price.
However, the most searched-for professionals nationwide (and in each region itself) over the last 30 days were painters.
Additionally, the popularity of window contractors is on the rise. This may be a sign that potential buyers are becoming keener about inspecting windows and screens.
As for the post-purchase project cycle, Porch data found that on a national level, door replacement (7%) was the most popular project. Regionally, it had the most bang for its buck in the Midwest, where door replacement generated a 213% return on investment.
The Data Trends Report is based off insight from the 1.5 million home improvement professionals and the 100 million projects in the Porch network.
International home buyers on the rise in Texas
International home buyers are making their mark in the Texas market — and increasingly so.
According to the 2014 Texas International Homebuyers Report by the Texas Association of Realtors, international homebuyers added $11.06 billion to the Texas economy between March 2013 and March 2014 — their highest level in five years.
To put that number in perspective, Texas accounted for 12% of the total $92.2 billion contributed by this demographic to the nationwide economy. That makes Texas the No. 3 state for international home sales.
Additionally, naturalized citizens in Texas are about 12% more likely to own a home than U.S. natives. This makes Texas unique from the rest of the country, where there’s virtually no different in homeownership rates between naturalized and native citizens.
“The Texas housing market is not only strong in sales volume, but in its diversity," said Texas Association of Realtors chairman Dan Hatfield. "The demand for Texas homes stretches around the world. International home buyers increasingly view Texas homes as a good investment, and as our economy has grown, so has the number of international home buyers in our state.”
The majority of international home buyers in Texas hail from Latin America or the Caribbean. Texas is home to more than 65% of U.S. homes purchased by Mexican home buyers.
Overall, international home buyers made up 7% of total U.S. home sales over the 12-month period.
Mixed results from manufacturers survey
Asked about current sales levels compared with a year ago, fewer American Hardware Manufacturers Association members said sales were up, according to the latest member survey from the AHMA.
While an impressive 71% of respondents said sales were higher in August versus year-ago levels, that’s down from 77% who said the same in July.
“While the confidence index has declined for two consecutive months, we remain encouraged by the fact that 71% of our responding members report sales in August above year-ago levels,” said Timothy S. Farrell, president and CEO of the AHMA. “With recent reports showing a decline in new-home sales and a reduction in consumer spending, it is understandable that hardware manufacturers have a cautious outlook regarding the prospects for overall economic growth and sales going forward.”
For August, 24% reported sales were even, and 6% said sales were below year-ago levels.
Looking forward one year, 59% of respondents project sales will be higher, down from 82% who felt that way in July. Thirty-five percent of August respondents project sales will be even one year from now, and 6% project sales will be below current levels.