Most Americans spend $6,200 to improve homes: poll

Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:16pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - The housing market may still be in the doldrums but most American homeowners plan to spend about $6,200 in home improvements this year ahead of an expected seller's market in two years.

A new online survey of 2,000 homeowners by American Express showed that 62 percent plan renovation projects to improve the appearance and value of their homes.

Fifty-three percent see a seller's market at least two years away and slightly more than half do not think they would get their asking price if they were to sell now.

"Americans' most prized possessions are their homes and they are committed to continuing to enhance its appearance and value in spite of the softer real estate market," said Pamela Codispoti, a senior vice president and general manager for credit card company.

Even with a recovering real estate market, 85 percent of homeowners consider their home to be their most valuable asset. Nearly three in four homeowners will finance projects with money on hand, and about half will hire a contractor, the survey found.

About 38 percent will get family and friends to help, and 14 percent will do the work themselves.

Among affluent homeowners, the average amount they expect to spend on home improvements is $11,500, the survey found.

The online survey questioned more than 2,000 consumers, 18 years or older, between March 30 and April 2.

(Reporting by Walden Siew; Editing by Patricia Reaney)

<p>A Home Depot retail store is shown in Daly City, California February 23, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith</p>