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Homeowners delay major purchases, improvement projects due to inflation

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For homeowners, large projects and purchases may be another victim of rampant inflation, new research suggests.

Overall, 60% of homeowners in a recent survey are less confident about making major purchases for their home or household due to rising prices, according to Hippo Insurance’s 2022 Homeowner Preparedness Report. And nearly 43% either strongly (14.4%) or somewhat (28.4%) agree that inflation has caused them to delay planned home improvement or maintenance projects.

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The poll used to generate the survey was conducted April 29 through May 1 among 1,915 American adults by Ipsos on behalf of Hippo.

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With inflation at 8.6% year over year in May – more than expected and the fastest pace since 1981 – households are facing price increases on everything from groceries and gas to rent and clothing, according to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics . Generally speaking, demand continues to outstrip supply, which in many cases is hampered by supply chain issues.

Housing construction costs have increased by 19% compared to a year ago, according to the National Association of Home Builders. This can translate into higher costs for home improvement projects, depending on the details. However, the housing market appears to have cooled amid higher interest rates and skyrocketing home prices; the median list price for a home in the United States is $447,000, up 17.6% from a year ago, according to Realtor.com.

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‘Not all home repairs are created equal’

However, delaying some projects can be risky. Putting off routine maintenance can lead to higher repair costs down the road. Last year, homeowners spent an average of about $4,000 on home repairs, the Hippo survey found.

While it’s wise to have money set aside for maintenance and repairs, you can also take steps to help avoid costly fixes. For example, make sure you know where the main water shut-off is. If you discover a leaking line from your refrigerator or washing machine, turning off that valve can prevent worse water damage.

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“Start with a routine inspection of your home,” said Courtney Klosterman, consumer trends expert at Hippo. “Note any visible imperfections, such as foundation cracks or damp areas, which can be an early sign of mold.”

From there, Klosterman said, create a list of must-dos and nice-to-dos so you can work your way through your list over time.

“Prioritize problems that are known to be more expensive to fix, such as water leaks and any structural problems around the house,” she said. “Not all home repairs are created equal, so it’s important to look for signs that a project needs to be addressed quickly.”

For example, faulty critical systems, such as a broken water heater or an electrical short, should be prioritized, Klosterman said. This is also when authorized professionals must be called in to solve the problem.

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to home key maintenance, you can find checklists online, including at sites like Hippo or Homeadvisor.com.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the exact percentage of survey respondents who either strongly or somewhat agree that inflation has caused them to delay planned home improvements.