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American Express Spending & Saving Tracker: Nearly One-third Of Homeowners With Home Improvement Plans Say They'll Be Looking Into "green" Projects This Year. (Graphic: Business Wire)

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of homeowners say they will invest in renovation projects this year, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. While the number of people planning to make home improvements is similar to 2010 (62 percent), the amount they are planning to spend is significantly less — dropping from an average of $6,200 in 2010 to $3,400 in 2011. Even though homeowners’ confidence in the real estate market has increased compared to last year, less than half (43 percent) believe they would get the asking price for their home if it was on the market today.

The latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker 1 explores consumers’ spending and saving behaviors as it relates to home improvement. The research sample of 2,045 adults included the general U.S. population, as well as two subgroups - the affluent 2 and young professionals 3.

Spending Green to Make Green Nearly one-third (32 percent) of homeowners with home improvement plans said they’ll be looking to invest in green improvements this year. Many are choosing to spend on energy saving measures because of the long-term, cost-saving benefits (31 percent). Energy efficient windows and doors (16 percent) top homeowner’s lists, followed by: insulation (12 percent), roofing (11 percent) and heating/ventilation/cooling systems (10 percent).

“This year, consumers are spending smart and looking for ways to save when it comes to home renovation,” said Pamela Codispoti, executive vice present and general manager of Consumer Card Services, American Express. “Our survey revealed that consumers are investing in green improvements to increase their savings over time and choosing to handle renovation projects on their own to save now. Many also plan to use their tax refunds to pay for improvements.”

I’ll Do It Myself, Thank You More than three in five homeowners (64 percent) with home improvement plans say they’ll take on at least some of the work themselves, 20 percent will hire a contractor to do all of the work, and 11 percent will ask a family member to do the work. Among those who plan to do some or all of the work themselves, 30 percent will be taking a “friends and family” approach to getting the work done. Twenty-one percent plan to split the work load by hiring a contractor for specialized projects. Thirteen percent plan to go it alone.

Bathroom Makeovers Top the List for Room Redos Indoor renovations outrank outdoor remodeling projects 55 percent to 29 percent respectively. Cosmetic work, such as painting, and redoing rooms were the most popular indoor projects, with bathrooms holding on to the top spot again this year for the most popular room remodel. Those who set their sights on outdoor projects are most interested in refreshing their landscaping (22 percent), followed by building or redoing a deck or patio (9 percent).

American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 2,045 consumers aged 18+. Interviewing was conducted by Echo Research between March 1 and March 6, 2011. Overall, the results have a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence. For access to previous American Express Spending & Saving Tracker results, please visit

About American Express American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at and connect with us on, and


1 The research was conducted online March 1-6, 2011 among a random sample of 2,045 adults aged 18 and older

2 Affluent - defined as having a minimum annual household income of $100,000.

3 Young Professional - defined as less than 30 years of age, having a college degree, and a minimum annual household income of $50,000.

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