New research suggests that for homeowners, large projects and purchases could be just another crash of massive inflation.
Overall, 60% of homeowners in a recent survey are less comfortable making a major purchase for their home or home due to rising prices, according to Hippo Insurance’s 2022 Homeowner Readiness Report. And 43% agree either strongly (14%) or to some degree (28%) that inflation has caused them to delay planned home improvement or maintenance projects.
The survey used to generate the study was conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Hippo among 1,915 US adults from April 29 to May 1.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation rose 8.6% year over year in May — higher than expected and the fastest pace since 1981 — giving households everything from groceries and gas to rent and clothing. Cheese is facing a rise in prices. Generally speaking, demand is outpacing supply, which in many cases is constrained by supply-chain issues.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, the cost of residential housing construction is 19% higher than a year ago. This can translate into higher costs for home improvement projects depending on the specifications.
However, delaying some projects can be risky. Putting off regular maintenance can result in major repair outlays down the road. Last year, homeowners spent an average of about $4,000 on home repairs, the Hippo survey showed.
While it’s wise to set aside money for maintenance and repairs, you can also take steps that can help avoid costly improvements. For example, be sure to know where the main shutoff to the water is. If you detect a leaking line from your refrigerator or washing machine, closing that valve can prevent bad water damage.
“Start with a regular inspection of your home,” said Courtney Klosterman, consumer trends expert at Hippo. “Note any visible imperfections, such as cracks in the foundation or damp areas, which could be an early sign of mold.”
From there, Klosterman said, make a list of must-dos and good deeds, so you can work through your list over time.
“Prioritize issues that are considered costly to repair such as water leaks and any structural issues around the house,” she said. “Not all home repairs are created equal, so it’s important to look for signs that a project needs to be addressed quickly.”
For example, failures in critical systems, such as a broken hot water heater or lack of power, should be prioritized, Klosterman said. That too when licensed professionals should be called in to fix the problem.