15 Cities With the Biggest Increase in Home Improvement Loans Since COVID-19

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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Construction Coverage.

As Americans hunkered down in their homes in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic — with remote work and school continuing into the foreseeable future — many began tackling home improvement projects.

Demand for home offices, more living space, and nicer outdoor areas boomed. Interest rates also dropped to record lows, spurring many to take out home improvement loans. According to loan-level mortgage data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), there were nearly 480,000 conventional, single-family home improvement loans taken out in 2020 with a total value of $54.5 billion.

Investments in home improvements began to fall during the housing crisis — and beginning of the Great Recession — that started in late 2007. Things didn’t turn around until 2010, but home improvement spending has steadily increased since then. The most recent recession — the COVID-19 recession — lasted just two months, from February to April 2020, and differed markedly from the Great Recession.

Most notably, home prices didn’t drop, but instead rapidly increased in the aftermath. The combination of increasing home prices and record low interest rates gave owners access to more capital, as well as the confidence that they would be able to recoup home improvement investments if they were to sell. In fact, home improvement spending reached record levels in 2020.

To determine the metropolitan areas with the biggest increase in home improvement loans since the COVID-19 pandemic began, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed the latest data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. You can read our methodology at the end.

Here are the metros with the biggest increase in home improvement loans.

15. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

House in Orlando, Florida
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  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +4.5%
  • Median loan amount: $85,000
  • Median interest rate: 4.2%
  • Median loan term: 30
  • Median property value: $335,000

14. Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI

Grand Rapids Michigan homes houses
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  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +6.2%
  • Median loan amount: $55,000
  • Median interest rate: 4.0%
  • Median loan term: 25
  • Median property value: $265,000

13. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +6.3%
  • Median loan amount: $55,000
  • Median interest rate: 3.0%
  • Median loan term: 25
  • Median property value: $305,000

12. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

San Antonio, Texas home
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  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +10.2%
  • Median loan amount: $65,000
  • Median interest rate: 3.8%
  • Median loan term: 15
  • Median property value: $285,000

11. Raleigh-Cary, NC

Raleigh, North Carolina
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  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +11.5%
  • Median loan amount: $65,000
  • Median interest rate: 4.0%
  • Median loan term: 25
  • Median property value: $365,000

10. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

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  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +11.9%
  • Median loan amount: $95,000
  • Median interest rate: 4.0%
  • Median loan term: 20
  • Median property value: $385,000

9. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

Los Angeles neighborhood in San Fernando Valley
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  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +12.6%
  • Median loan amount: $165,000
  • Median interest rate: 3.7%
  • Median loan term: 30
  • Median property value: $815,000

8. Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City, Utah homes
Jason Finn / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +13.3%
  • Median loan amount: $65,000
  • Median interest rate: 4.0%
  • Median loan term: 20
  • Median property value: $435,000

7. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA

San Diego home
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  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +13.6%
  • Median loan amount: $125,000
  • Median interest rate: 3.8%
  • Median loan term: 30
  • Median property value: $755,000

6. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

Riverside, California
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  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +13.8%
  • Median loan amount: $105,000
  • Median interest rate: 3.9%
  • Median loan term: 30
  • Median property value: $485,000

5. Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ

Aerial view of Phoenix, Arizona
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  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +17.7%
  • Median loan amount: $75,000
  • Median interest rate: 4.3%
  • Median loan term: 30
  • Median property value: $385,000

4. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

Charlotte, North Carolina
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  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +19.8%
  • Median loan amount: $75,000
  • Median interest rate: 3.9%
  • Median loan term: 30
  • Median property value: $345,000

3. Tucson, AZ

Home in Tucson Arizona
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  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +23.2%
  • Median loan amount: $85,000
  • Median interest rate: 4.5%
  • Median loan term: 30
  • Median property value: $275,000

2. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX

Austin, Texas
Brandon Seidel / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +33.8%
  • Median loan amount: $95,000
  • Median interest rate: 3.7%
  • Median loan term: 20
  • Median property value: $455,000

1. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

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  • Percentage change in the total home improvement loan value: +35.7%
  • Median loan amount: $105,000
  • Median interest rate: 3.6%
  • Median loan term: 30
  • Median property value: $465,000

Methodology

Man using too much data on his phone, tablet and laptop
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To determine the metropolitan areas with the biggest increase in home improvement loans since the COVID-19 pandemic began, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed the latest data from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. The researchers ranked metros according to the percentage change in the total home improvement loan value from 2019 to 2020.

In the event of a tie, the metro with the larger total number of home improvement loans in 2020 was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated the median loan amount, the median interest rate, the median loan term, and the median property value. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis.

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