Moving Out and Sprucing Up

  Moving Out and Sprucing Up

  *35 Million Americans plan to move this year
  *Seller confidence increases 36%
  *72% plan to spend an average of $4,000 on home improvements

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- March 21, 2013

Americans are on the move, according to the latest American Express Spending &
Saving Tracker. Fifteen percent of Americans, or approximately 35 million
people, expect to move in 2013, a 50% increase from last year. Of these, 43%
plan to purchase a new home, condo or apartment, while 47% will rent. Moving
or not, the vast majority (72%) of Americans have at least one home
improvement project on their to-do list this year, expecting to spend an
average of $4,000.

Visit here for the full report and past Spending & Saving Tracker surveys.

A Seller’s Market

Overall, homeowners are more optimistic about the real estate market, with 57%
feeling confident they could sell their home for their asking price today, a
36% increase from 2012.

Nearly half of consumers (45%) think the best time to buy is within the next
six months. To speed up the process, most homeowners (70%) say they’re willing
to make certain concessions to sweeten the home buying deal, a trend that’s
increased 13% since 2011. Concessions include: throwing in appliances (46%),
making requested repairs (32%) as well as paying closing costs (18%, up 64%
since 2011).

Before concessions can be agreed upon, sellers will woo potential buyers by
putting their house’s “best foot” forward. The most important fixes and
upgrades according to consumers include: making small repairs, like leaky
faucets and damaged plaster (69%), organizing and de-cluttering (66%),
painting (63%), improving landscaping (49%), updating of bathrooms (33%),
replacing out-of-date appliances (24%) and hiring professionals to stage or
clean (23%).

Not everyone is packing up and moving; 25% of Americans are looking to take
advantage of low interest rates to re-finance. Among them, 38% will use their
refinancing savings to pay down debt and bills, 23% will put the extra cash in
a piggy bank and 12% will put the money towards home improvement projects.

House Call: Upgrades Add Value

Whether selling or staying put, consumers say they’ll spend an average of 14%
more on home improvement projects this year than last. Seventy-two percent of
Americans, on par with last year, will spend an average of $4,000 on fixing
and sprucing up their homes.

“Consumers are investing in their homes this year across nearly every category
from DIY to new home furnishings,” said David Rabkin, SVP U.S. Consumer
Lending Products, American Express. “Whether they’re redoing one room or the
whole house, there is a significant bump in spending that should bode well for
many merchants.”

Homeowners plan to spend an average of $4,000 this year, up from $3,500 in

  *62% have plans to purchase new home accessories or furniture
  *63% are remodeling their interiors, spending an average of $3,300
  *39% are remodeling outdoors or landscaping, spending an average of $1,800
  *39% are re-doing a single room, spending an average of $2,900, and
  *33% are updating their appliances, spending an average of $1,033

While many believe the improvements will add to the value of their home (30%)
the majority is upgrading because they want a home that better reflects their
personal styles (33%).

When it comes to style inspiration, social media is increasingly popular, with
14% turning to social sites like Pinterest, a two-fold increase from last
year. Traditional broadcast television including DIY and design shows is down
slightly (39% from 43%) as a source for inspiration, while magazines (29%)
remained a steady resource for consumers.

The Green House Effect

Between 2011 and 2013, the amount of Americans spending on sustainable
renovations has increased 53%. Of those “greening” their homes, 29% will
upgrade to more energy-efficient windows and doors, 19% will spend it on
insulation, 18% on heating, ventilation and/or cooling, while 12% will
implement an alternative energy system (e.g. solar power or geothermal heat

When asked for their primary reason to make such upgrades, 31% hope to see a
return on investment in energy savings, 19% an overall improvement on the
value of their homes, 15% are making an effort to reduce their carbon
footprint, and 14% are motivated by government tax credits and incentives,
which will extend into 2013.

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online
among a random sample of 1,518 adults, including the general U.S. population,
an affluent demographic, defined by a minimum annual household income of
$100,000, and homeowners . Interviewing was conducted by Echo Research between
February 27 and March 1, 2013. These findings have a margin of error of ± 2.5
(total respondents) and ± 3.0 (homeowners) percentage points at the 95% level
of confidence.

About American Express

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American Express
Melanie Backs, 212-640-2164
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