Consumers are still skittish about spending on home remodeling in the economy, according to statistics from Remodeling Magazine. The magazine's highly respected Cost vs Value Report comes out annually, ranking projects by return on investment and citing home remodeling trends. For 2011-2012, consumers earned the best values on attic bedroom conversions, minor kitchen remodeling, garage door replacements, steel entry door installations, and wood deck projects.
In a year fraught with economic risk, the only mid-range project that increased in value over the previous year was the attic bedroom, recouping 72.5 percent of its cost.
Remodeling Magazine described the home improvement as converting "unfinished attic space to a 15-by-15-foot bedroom and a 5-by-7-foot bathroom with shower." The average job cost was $50,148, which included money to install a dormer with four windows, carpeting, insulation and closet space.
Limited upscale home improvement returns
For upscale projects, the only winner in terms of increased value last year was the $2,994 garage door replacement that yielded a 71.1 percent return on investment. The project entailed removing and recycling the existing door and installing a "4-section garage door on new heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks." The project included installation of foam backing, insulated to minimum R-12, and required the use of the existing opener.
Replacements still reign among consumers, according to the magazine. Seven of the top-ten remodeling projects were for siding, windows and doors. Aside from installing new roofing projects, the other major replacement projects came in at under $19,000. The replacement - rather than remodeling - trend may be in direct response to rising energy costs and the depressed housing market.
Home remodeling and regional trends
There are obvious and glaring distinctions between the value of home improvement projects by region. For example, a sun-room addition in New England was a poor performer, yielding but a 45.9 percent return on investment. In the Pacific region, the installation of backup power generators brought a 47.5 percent return in home value.
Vinyl windows in the Northern States offered a 68 percent return on investment. The average project cost $11,366 for replacing ten existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows.
Homeowners in Mid-South states found their vinyl siding replacement projects yielded a 69.5 ROI. The siding projects averaged 1,250 square feet of replacement panels, with a cost of $11,729.
Now you know where to build your budget for 2012. While there are signs of recovery in parts of the country, home remodeling trends continue to favor energy upgrades and protective doors and windows for the house.