Slideshow: The Real Cost of Home Improvement

By Ben Steverman - 2012-11-26T19:03:24Z

Photograph by Mats Hallgren/Corbis

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Renovation Rebound

For a few years, carpets have been allowed to fray, faucets to drip and paint to peel. Now, home improvement spending may be rebounding. Harvard University's Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity suggests spending will be up 16.6 percent by the middle of 2013.

To see what projects homeowners are likely to pursue and what they'll spend, used survey data from home improvement website and app Houzz. Estimates on potential payoffs from projects come from Remodeling Magazine, which asks appraisers and others how much hypothetical projects recoup costs in the form of increased home values. Projects are ranked from most to least expensive. More detail on the data is on the last slide.