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The surge in do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement activity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is not likely to continue long-term, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The JCHS forecasts the overall home improvement market will remain strong moving into the future, but that DIY activity will fade and return to more normal levels.

During the pandemic, many homeowners not adversely affected financially by the recession have been active in upgrading their homes to meet their evolving needs as they remain at home. According to the JCHS, the level of project activity contrasts typical patterns of discretionary home improvement spending, which usually decline during economic downturns. A majority of these home improvement projects have been undertaken by the homeowners themselves. Homeowners cited more spare time, more time at home, and cost-cutting as primary reasons for DIYing home improvements. Many homeowners also remain wearing of contractors entering their home to perform work.

The large proportion of homeowners completing DIY projects also contrasts recent trends, according to a report from Remodeling Futures Director Kermit Baker and research assistant Sophie Weedon. In recent years, fewer than one in five dollars spent annually on home improvement projects were for a DIY project, according to the JCHS American Housing Survey. As recently as two decades ago, one in four dollars spent on home improvements were for DIY projects.

The JCHS cites numerous factors for the likely longer-term decline in DIY projects, including growing household incomes, lower rates of mobility, more complicated materials and products, and a general declining interest in and exposure to manual labor among much of the population. The most critical factor to the JCHS’s projection, though, is the owner population is aging. Nearly a third of homeowners in 2019 were 65 or older and, on average, the 65 and over age cohort spends only 12% of their home improvement dollars on DIY projects.

The full report is available on the JCHS website.

This article originally appeared in Remodeling's sister publication, ProSales.