Whether it’s a sign of the current economy or homeowners are becoming more concerned with first impressions, exterior replacement projects are ranked highest in terms of home improvements that retain the most value, according to the 24th annual Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report (SM: PLS LINK TO COST VALUE FEATURE).
Upscale fiber-cement siding replacement jobs returned 78% of what homeowners originally paid. Despite being at the top of the 2011 list, the percentage of what siding jobs pay back has slipped slightly. From 2006 to 2010 the same jobs retained anywhere between 80% and 88% of their value.
However, siding is not alone: Eight of the top 10 projects that retain the most value are replacement jobs and all have seen their percentages slip, most notably a 43% drop in the value retained by steel entry door replacements from just two years ago. The only two entries on the 2011 top 10 list that are full-fledged remodeling jobs are midrange attic bedrooms and minor kitchen remodels, both of which kept roughly 72% of their value.
The top ranking of exterior-only projects is a stark reminder of where the industry stands: nine years ago, midrange bathroom additions were the top value for homeowners, retaining more than 94% of their value.
While the top Cost vs. Value ROI spots have routinely been occupied by a handful of projects over the years, the cellar dweller has been remarkably consistent as well. Midrange home office remodels, which in 2011–12 maintain just 42.9% of their value, have been mired in the very last spot since they were added to the Report in 2006, when they returned 63.4%.