PALO ALTO, CA - U.S. homeowners are investing in their homes far more to improve aesthetics than to increase home value, according to the new Houzz & Home Survey.

According to the Houzz study, 86% of homeowners are most interested in "improving the look and feel of the space" compared to 47% who said they are most interested iin "increasing home value." What's more, the Houzz study found that the gap between these priorities was consistent across all income levels and demographic groups.

Kitchens and bathrooms scored highest on the list of home remodeling projects. Forty-eight percent of survey respondents indicated plans to remodel a bathroom and 45% plan to redo their kitchens. Average budgets run $30,500 for kitchens and $13,500 for bathrooms.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said they will save money by completing some or all of the projects themselves. This includes 45% of respondents with more incomes or $150,000 or greater.

The Houzz study also indicated that while the economy is prompting many homeowners to cut back on vacations and other "big-ticket" items, that fewer plan to delay or decrease spending on home improvements.

"We expected that in this economy Americans' highest priority would be increasing home value, but instead we found people are focused on pleasing themselves, not the next owner," said Liza Hausman, vice president of marketing for Houzz. "Homes today are doing double or even triple duty as workplace, stay-cation, gym and more."

Other key Houzz survey findings include:
* Seventy-two percent of homeowners surveyed plan to decorate or redecorate within the next two years; 40% plan to remodel or construct an addition, while 10% are planning to build a custom home.

* Fifty-seven percent plan to complete a project in the next two years will hire a general contractor, 35% a kitchen or bath professional and 32% will hire a carpet or flooring professional. Thirty percent are planning to hire an architect, 26%t an interior designer and 24%percent a landscape architect or designer.

* Sixty percent hired a general contractor in the past five years, and half hired a carpet or flooring professional. Windows and kitchen and bath professionals were each hired by 28% of respondents, while architects and landscape professionals were each hired by 24% of respondents.

The Houzz & Home Survey was emailed to registered users of the Houzz app and website in February 2012. Results are based on 29,127 respondents (87 percent homeowners, 13 percent renters). Edge Research conducted the survey.

Looks Best Profits for Home Remodels: Houzz Study

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