More than ever, remodeling and the American Dream go hand in hand. Gleanings from recent research:

  • Population. Minorities will account for nearly two-thirds of U.S. household growth between 2000 and 2010 (source: Fannie Mae).
  • Homeownership. The U.S. had more than 15 million minority homeowners in 2004 (source: Census Bureau). Minority households now account for 35% of first-time buyers and 16% of trade-up buyers (source: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University [JCHS]).
  • Second homes. Minorities accounted for 11% of vacation home purchases and 17% of investment property purchases between 2003 and 2005, up from 6% and 11% in 2002 (source: National Association of Realtors).
  • Home improvement spending. Minority homeowners spent $19.6 billion on remodeling in 2003. Immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for 10 or more years usually spend at least as much on home improvements as native-born homeowners. (source: JCHS).
  • Future remodeling needs. From 1991 to 2001, minorities bought about 2 million homes built before 1985 (source: JCHS). Older homes typically require more maintenance and repair.

Implications? Remodelers who want to expand into minority markets should learn to speak other languages and understand cultural differences that can impact spending decisions. For instance, Hispanics of all income levels have distinct preferences for Spanish-speaking real estate agents, according to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. Personal service, including frequent contact and taking the time to explain the remodeling process, can help win the trust and loyalty of minority clients.
Different immigrant groups and cultures also have their own way of negotiating, decision-making, and discussing finances.