Home Improvement and “Churn”

By Brad Hunter

Updated March 24, 2017

February 11, 2016

The number of home improvement projects underway at any given time depends heavily on what I call “churn,” or the rate of turnover as it relates to homes.  The rate of churn across America has rebounded since the Great Recession — and with an increase in churn has come an increase in home service requests coming through HomeAdvisor’s home improvement network.

The following table shows the percentage increase through mid-year 2016, as it compares with the percentage increase through mid-year 2015, for all of North America. Keeping in mind that much of the increase is a reflection of the growth of HomeAdvisor as a company, the relative rates of increase are illuminating.


Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 10.18.38 AM

Source: HomeAdvisor

I was intrigued to see that moving services and home inspection services are among the fastest-growing types of service request, up 90 percent and 42 percent, respectively (the average for all of North America).  Not coincidentally, both of these services are closely tied to churn. In a high-churn state like Florida, the percentages are even more dramatic.  Florida has experienced a 123 percent increase in overall home service requests in the past year, higher than the 90 percent increase for North America as a whole.  In fact, Florida has been one of the fastest-growing states in terms of these service categories.

It is also interesting to observe the service types experiencing lower-than-average demands.  Services related to hot tubs, spas and saunas — a category I would definitely call “discretionary” — have been among the slower-growing in the past year.  Interestingly, the hot tub category has been even weaker in Florida than it has been in the United States and Canada as a whole.  There is a fair amount of trepidation in the United States in front of the upcoming election, and it may be slowing the rate of growth in that kind of luxury item as people try to put money away in savings. For most of us, hot tubs and spas are a “nice to have” rather than a “need.”


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