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Where Salem Ranks Among Best Cities for DIYers, and why it matters.

Written by Mike LaFirenza on Nov. 18th, 2022
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A new report from Porch looking at the best U.S. locations for DIYers is in. The analysis found that there are 4.88 hardware, furniture, and appliance stores per 10,000 residents in the Salem metro area, compared to 4.54 nationally. Why does this matter?

Being a DIYer is more conducive in some parts of the country than in others, given that between 80–90% of DIYers report purchasing their home improvement products in-store (as opposed to online). To determine the best locations for DIYers, researchers calculated the concentration of hardware, furniture, and appliance stores and ranked metros accordingly.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic more than two years ago, living space has taken on new importance for many Americans. From early COVID lockdowns to lasting remote or hybrid work arrangements, people have been spending more time at home and collectively investing billions in the spaces where they live. 

While the pandemic’s economic effects—including high savings rates, low-interest rates, and government stimulus—helped supercharge home improvement spending, investment in such home projects was already up in recent years, alongside more than a decade of rising home prices. Many homeowners reported doing the work themselves due to having more time, health or safety reasons, or because contractors weren’t available. And more recently, the rising cost of labor and materials could further incentivize homeowners to take on projects themselves to save money. 

In 2011, after the Great Recession, inflation-adjusted spending on major residential improvements per household fell to $1,452, but that figure grew steadily to $2,398 by 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

While households have historically shown a greater likelihood of investing in their homes during periods of rising property values, a number of factors specific to the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged more homeowners to do the work themselves as “DIY” projects. Data from the Farnsworth Group and Home Improvement Research Institute collected between March 2020 and June 2021 show that upwards of 90% of DIYers reported doing the work because they had more time at home, upwards of 50% because of health or safety reasons, and upwards of 20% because contractors weren’t available. More recently, the rising cost of labor and materials could further incentivize homeowners to take on necessary projects themselves as a way to save money.

Being a DIYer is more conducive in some parts of the country than in others, given that between 80–90% of DIYers report purchasing their home improvement products in-store (as opposed to online). Based on the concentration of hardware, furniture, and appliance stores relative to the population, states in the Mountain West, Plains, and New England regions are the most DIY-friendly, led by Montana at 8.54 stores per 10,000 residents. At the opposite end of the spectrum are Nevada, Hawaii, Arizona, and California with fewer than half the number of stores per capita when compared to leading states.

Bend, OR finished second for the small metro areas with a concentration of 8.45, while Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA finished twelfth. The last census has it as follows, Concentration of hardware, furniture & appliance stores (per 10k): 4.61, Total number of hardware, furniture & appliance stores: 1,139, Median home price: $581,400, Cost of living (compared to average): +5.7%

 

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Porch’s website: https://porch.com/advice/the-best-cities-for-diyers

 

By  Mike LaFirenza founder, CEO, and Journalist at Lattice Publish. Lattice Publishing works with brands to turn proprietary & publicly available data into research-driven stories for publishers, helping to engage readers by covering unique topics and story angles.

Mike LaFirenza

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