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15 Cities Where Residents Are Investing in Home Improvements

The large metros investing the most in home improvements had 11.9 home improvement loans per 1,000 owner-occupied households, on average. At 16 home improvement loans per 1,000 homeowners, the Salt Lake City metro area had the most per capita home improvement loans of all large metros, over double the national rate of 7.1. The median home improvement loan amount among large metros varies, from $35,000 in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, metro area to over $100,000 in Boston. Home prices range as well, from a median of $181,000 in the more affordable Cleveland metro area to $616,000 in Seattle.

Some of the small and midsize metros with the most improvement loans have upwards of 17 home improvement loans per 1,000 owner-occupied households annually. Indeed, the Madison, Wisconsin, metro area had 20.4 loans per 1,000 homeowners, the most of all metropolitan areas. As expected, home improvement loan approval rates tend to be high in metros with more per capita home improvement loans. The national home improvement loan approval rate is 56.5%, but in the small and midsize metros investing the most in home improvements, rates are more frequently 70% and up, going as high as 89.7% in the Iowa City, Iowa, metro area.

To find the metropolitan areas investing the most in home improvements, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed the latest data from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey, and Zillow’s Zillow Home Value Index. The researchers ranked metros according to the number of home improvement loans per 1,000 owner-occupied households. In the event of a tie, the metro with the larger number of total annual home improvement loans was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated the median loan amount, the median home price, and the home improvement loan approval rate.

Only conventional, single-family mortgage applications were considered in the analysis. In the calculation of approval rates, withdrawn and incomplete applications, as well as purchased loans, were excluded.

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