More Americans Using Debt For Home Improvement

Photo (cc) by Dean Hochman

The U.S. home improvement industry has been clawing its way back up since the Great Recession.

This year could “easily” see record-level spending, beating out the $324 billion spending record reached in 2007, according to a recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

An annual homeowner survey conducted by Harris Poll for LightStream, SunTrust Bank’s online lending division, found that 57 percent of homeowners plan to spend money on home improvement this year.

As Todd Nelson, LightStream business development officer, told MarketWatch today:

Consumers are increasingly putting money back into their homes. … This is good for the economy and the home-improvement industry overall.

But what’s good news for banks isn’t necessarily good news for consumers.

In the LightStream survey, the percentage of homeowners who report planning improvement projects for this year is up only 1 percent from last year — but the percentage who plan to pay for their home improvements with loans and lines of credit is up disproportionately:

  • 59 percent of respondents plan to pay for home-improvement projects with savings. (That is down from 72 percent last year.)
  • 30 percent plan to pay with a credit card (up from 21 percent last year).
  • 9 percent plan to pay with a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. (Last year’s numbers were not available.)
  • 7 percent plan to pay with a loan (up from 6 percent last year).

That means more homeowners will also be paying interest on top of the outright costs of their projects.

Do you plan to finance home repairs with credit because you lack an emergency fund? Are you going to finance any type of home improvement with credit because you can’t afford to pay for it outright? If you answered yes to either question, realize that those are among Five Signs That You Are a Credit Abuser.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
19 Things You Should Never Buy at a Grocery Store

These household necessities are overpriced at the grocery store. Get them cheaper at these places instead.

Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State

Are you on track to retire at the same age as most residents of your state?

8 Reasons Your Parents Had an Easier Retirement Than You Will

Here’s why the last decades of life are harder now than they used to be.

10 Ways Anyone Can Earn More Income

Looking for additional cash? Here are a bunch of options that are accessible to anyone with internet access.

6 Reasons Hiding Cash at Home Is a Terrible Idea

Stashing cash around the house is anything but harmless.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach

Does the pandemic have you reaching for bleach more than ever before? Learn the ins and outs of using this powerful disinfectant.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.