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High-End Projects Seen Leading Kitchen, Bath Market Surge

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ — Although forecasts for low- and mid-range project spending have each been revised upward, it’s the high end of the kitchen and bath market that will “shine” in the months ahead, according to the latest forecast issued by the National Kitchen & Bath Association.

According to the latest NKBA forecast, released this summer, the high end of the kitchen/bath market is now expected to surge by more 28% compared to 2020 ­– topping the association’s initial 19.8% projection) ­– as pent-up demand, robust savings and sharply rising home appreciation “encourage homeowners to go the extra mile” when it comes to spending.

In its latest market forecast, the Hackettstown, NJ-based NKBA revised its 2021 industry sales projection to $170.9 billion in kitchen and bath spending, up by 21.4% from 2020’s $140.8 billion and nearly 8% higher than the association’s initial estimate for the year. New construction kitchen and bath spending is now expected to exceed 2020 by 28.5%, while kitchen and bath remodeling expenditures are expected to climb by 12.5%, according to the NKBA. Total kitchen spending (new construction and remodel) is now targeted at $81 billion, with bath spending estimated at $89 billion, both more than 20% above last year and appreciably higher than the NKBA’s initial forecast.

The “red-hot market,” according to the NKBA “is a continuation of a positive ‘perfect storm’ that began in the second half of last year and hasn’t let up, all related in one way or another to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“First came the buildup of savings, as homeowners experiencing the unknowns of the COVID-19 lockdown decided to err on the side of caution,” the NKBA said, adding that “much of it wasn’t voluntary, as spending on dining, entertainment, travel and leisure came to a screeching halt.

“Adding to the dramatic savings growth were the generous government stimulus programs that poured $5 trillion into the hands of consumers. As homes suddenly began doubling as schools and offices, configuration changes practically became mandatory. The kitchen morphed into the family hub and previous health and wellness trends for both bathroom and kitchen accelerated in urgency. And all that extra time at home made more homeowners realize a makeover was badly needed.”

“Add to that record-low interest rates that have made home-related loans very attractive, and steep home appreciation with demand far outstripping supply, and all the elements have neatly fallen into place.”

Among the NKBA’s other key conclusions:

n Home Improvement Tops Discretionary Spending: Nearly 1 in 3 homeowners plan to boost their home-improvement discretionary spending this year, well above the 1 in 5 (or fewer) who plan such increases for eating out, entertaining, travel or health. In fact, the average home-improvement project price point is 25% higher than last year, according to the NKBA.

n Kitchen & Bath Are Top Choices: For those planning home improvements this year, kitchens and primary baths rank #1 and #2, respectively, among a dozen home areas offered. More than half of those surveyed (55%) said they planned to remodel their kitchen, while 40% cited their primary bathroom. Exterior (37%), patio/deck (29%) and primary bedroom (29%) round out the top five areas for anticipated remodeling, the NKBA said.

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