March’s 3 hot topics for home improvement brands

Millennials want a house, Barbenheimer wants a kitchen, and renovators want a unicorn.
by The Drill Down Team on April 02, 2024

A generational standoff is hampering the housing market — and limiting buyers' options

Homebuyers in today’s market are increasingly faced with an inconvenient but inescapable truth — there are fewer homes for sale and the ones on the market are often in need of big repairs and renovations.

That’s because far fewer homes have been built since 2008 than needed to match demand, and a lot of existing homes were built decades ago — often to different standards. Says one expert: “You have this obsolescence that is starting to accelerate.” More here: (Source)

The S/M Take: 

Despite an uptick this week, we see this impasse resolving quite slowly and leaving a new, divided paradigm in its wake. 

On the older-home side, this eye-opening Fannie Mae report further confirms that the existing housing stock is not going to turn over anytime soon. Older homeowners are financially confident, and 56% say they will never sell. For the growing cohort that is committed to aging in place, there is a burgeoning cottage industry ready to assist… and providing further evidence that older housing stock will transition to Millennials at an achingly slow pace.

Meanwhile, on the new-home side, there are abundant quick-turn home brands like Genesis and Cavco, which The Drill Down reviewed in person at the recent International Builders’ Show. But with a housing-unit shortage in the millions, along with sticky-high mortgage interest rates, it will take time for these good solutions to provide relief.


Barbenheimer’s coming for your kitchen appliances

In the beginning, there was the white kitchen

No more. In 2024, the kitchen is going full-blown Technicolor. Gone are subtle color palettes like duck egg and deep green; in their place, homeowners and kitchen designers alike are favoring palettes — and ovens, microwaves, and dishwashers to match — like black or pink; moody versus bright.

Kitchen appliances, to borrow a pop culture reference, are going full-blown Barbenheimer. More here: (Source)

Many product manufacturers use the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas to debut new products and features. Walking the vast halls, overhearing buzzwords and seeing which displays attract the big crowds can be a little like gazing into a crystal ball that shows where home design is heading. More here: (Source)

The S/M Take: 

Once again, this show lived up to its reputation as the Super Bowl of home improvement and construction. A huge thanks to The Drill Down’s friends at Houzz for tracking what’s hot. We’ll do the same with our own KBIS Trend Report, dropping soon. Get yours here.

Renovate or run? When buyers should make a strong offer — or steer clear.

Any house can be made beautiful, says Lauren Liess, founder and principal designer of Lauren Liess Interiors. The question, she adds, is whether it's a worthwhile investment.

So how do experts like Liess put on their renovator glasses to look beyond dated carpet and not-so-appealing paint colors to find the homes that truly have renovation potential? More here: (Source)

The S/M Take: 

As mentioned in our first story, these older homes are gonna trickle into the market at a snail’s pace. And a lot of ‘em will be laden with decades of indifference by their contented Boomer owners. For the savvy renovator who senses good bones, there are amazing brands that can dramatically modernize these homes. But for those who overreact to the inventory shortage, it will be an uphill climb to profitability.

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