(Taken from Appraisal Institute News)
As home values dip, so do the value of many high-end home improvements, according to a Jan. 12 National Kitchen & Bath Association survey. Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report 2009-2010 found that small-scale, low-maintenance projects and replacements and an emphasis on essentials over extras may lead the way to recovery in the housing market.
The 2009 results indicate that remodeling activity continues downward, despite the 2008 survey declaring the market was about to reach bottom and start turning up. In 2008, overall cost-value ratio was 67.3 percent, down 2.7 points from the year before; in 2009, the ratio was 63.8 percent, a considerably larger 3.5-point drop, according to Cost vs. Value the report.
“It’s not a good idea to over-improve to the degree you have the best home in the neighborhood. In a hyper real estate market, you can get anything; but in a depressed market, the likelihood of recouping many investments is reduced,” Appraisal Institute Immediate Past President Jim Amorin, MAI, SRA, told Remodeling magazine.
John Bredemeyer, SRA, from Omaha, Neb., agrees with implementing minor changes to bring a property up to par with its neighborhood. He told Remodeling magazine that in most cases, “freshening up” jobs, like re-facing cabinets, new flooring or counters, are worth executing.
Appraisers agree that windows and siding tend to have reasonable paybacks in most markets. But some other energy and resource-efficient home improvements may still be too uncommon — and therefore not reflected in usable comps — to appraise near their cost, according to Remodeling magazine.
As for design trends, simplicity is king in 2010. Shades of white, off-white, beiges and bones in kitchens and bathrooms remain the safest bets. Ceramic, porcelain and natural stone tile are popular flooring options. For countertops, granite continues to be all the rage, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s survey.
Cherry is the most popular wood for kitchen cabinets, and pull-out faucets will continue to reign over standard kitchen faucets. French door and freezer bottom are the two most popular refrigerator styles, and the gas range leads the charge in cooking options. Standard dishwashers will be the most common in 2010, according to the NKBA’s survey.