Homeowner Happiness Index

The nation's largest study exploring what makes homeowners happy where it matters most — in their homes.

The Recipe for Home Happiness, Revealed

Homeowners dish on the home projects and features that bring them joy in
HomeAdvisor's Home Happiness Index

With all the fixer-upper TV shows broadcast over the past few decades, homeowners are more privy than ever to what's trending in home improvement. And they're also more privy to the changes they could make to get more joy from their own homes. So, since we're in the business of making homes more enjoyable, we launched a survey to explore the idea of home happiness - in a nutshell, to weigh what homeowners have against what homeowners want in their homes.

Happy Home Rankings

  • Home Happiness is a function of the home projects and features homeowners have versus the projects and features they want.
  • Click map to see how your area ranks

How are scores calculated? Learn More

Here's a look at the highlights:

Home improvement does indeed make people happy.

Homeowners who've made home improvements say they bring them joy - counting fresh interior paint, new flooring, landscaping, and remodeled bathrooms among the projects making them happiest. But whether they live in a sparkling new suburban stunner or a decades-old fixer-upper, most homeowners say they'd be happier if they could make additional improvements. In fact, more than 70 percent of homeowners nationwide say they'd be happier if they could renovate, redecorate or add on to their homes.

What matters most
Homeowners say these features make them happiest - whether they're enjoying them now or aspiring to enjoy them later:
  • Up-to-date kitchen
  • Professional landscaping
  • Up-to-date bathrooms
  • New windows
  • Patio or deck
  • Adequate closet/storage space
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Improved insulation
  • Master bedroom with private bath
  • Freshly painted exterior

There's a universal recipe for home happiness.

When it comes to homeownership, there's a simple recipe for enjoyment: A dash of function plus a pinch of pretty makes for a happy homeowner. And professional landscaping, updated kitchens and remodeled bathrooms are the ingredients people crave most. Inside, homeowners hanker for eat-in kitchens with quartz and marble countertops, shiny new appliances, and functional kitchen islands. Outside, they want to kick up the curb appeal and enjoy the view from upgraded outdoor living areas - complete with bistro lighting, fire pits and built-in barbecue grills.

Professional Landscaping
Updated Kitchens
Remodeled Bathrooms

The happiest homeowners live in the South and West.

Perhaps it's the spacious floor plans, the scenic views and the rising home equities, but homeowners in the South and West report higher levels of happiness than homeowners in the Northeast and Midwest. In fact, the happiest homeowners in America can be found in Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas, Austin and Phoenix. That's right: Three Texas cities rank within the top five for homeowner happiness.

The white picket fence
is winning.

Many homeowners enjoy city views, urban vibes and quick access to everything downtown has to offer. But quiet streets and private retreats seem to be winning out. Homeowners living in suburban and rural areas report higher levels of happiness than urban dwellers. And not by just a little: Rural and suburban homeowners report happiness levels nearly 30 percent higher than their urban-dwelling counterparts.

Bigger is better;
Newer is nice.

Chalk it up to ample storage, spacious master suites and modern amenities: Homeowners living in homes 3,000 square feet and larger - and in homes 10 years old and newer - report higher levels of happiness than homeowners living in smaller and older homes. What's more, the older and smaller a home gets, the more a homeowner's happiness decreases.

Women want to redecorate; men want to move.

Overall, men are happier than women with their homes. Women say they'd be happier if they could redecorate, but men say they'd rather move than go to the trouble. Fortunately, there are some areas of agreement: Both genders agree that interior and exterior features contribute equally to their happiness; nearly half of all male and female respondents said they'd like to renovate or remodel; and 8 percent of each said they'd be happier if they could build or add on to their homes. The next challenge is agreeing on a paint color.

  • Renovate or remodel
  • Redecorate
  • Move
  • None of these
  • Build or add on

Older homeowners are happier than younger homeowners.

Home happiness scores increase with age, presumably because older homeowners have more money and more of what they want. Homeowners in the Baby Boomer and silent generations have had the time and resources to remodel their kitchens, create expansive outdoor living retreats, and put a professional coat of paint on their walls. So, it stands to reason that members of the silent generation report being more than twice as happy as millennials.

Money does buy happiness.

No surprises here: Home happiness levels rise and fall with home values - and the happiest homeowners are those with homes worth more than they paid for them. As Brad Hunter, HomeAdvisor's Chief Economist notes, "When homeowners see their home values rise, they are more likely to go forward with projects that they might have deferred if they felt less financially secure." Basically, with increased equity comes an improved sense financial security and better borrowing options. So, as home equities continue to rise across the United States, we can expect to see more homeowners tackling the home projects that will make them happier.


A walk-in pantry, quartz countertops, a two-story deck and more. Here's what a real estate listing might look like for a house that includes all the features homeowners say bring them the most joy.


Who Participated in the Survey?

A total of 22,240 homeowners over the age of 21 representing 44 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) completed the online Home Happiness Survey.

What Was Included in the Survey?

The Home Happiness Survey included 43 questions, including six key indicator questions designed to gauge homeowner fulfillment. The survey focused on home projects and features, asking homeowners to rank those which would make them happier in their homes.

When Was the Survey Conducted?

HomeAdvisor conducted the Home Happiness Survey from March through May 2017.

How Did HomeAdvisor Determine Homeowner Happiness?

HomeAdvisor's team of research experts generated a happy home score for each MSA using a proprietary calculation that weighs homeowner "haves" against homeowner "wants." The team then indexed the scores and assigned a ranking.

Love a good, in-depth, dot-the-I's-n-cross-the-T's methodology story? Read on!

Trifecta Research Group surveyed a sample of 1,400 homeowners from a consumer panel sample and profiled their distribution based on age, gender, income and geography. Then, HomeAdvisor and Trifecta Research Group surveyed a sample of 1,410 HomeAdvisor members and profiled their distribution based on age, gender, income and geography. Next, Trifecta Research Group compared these profiles to understand similarities and differences as they relate to demographic, descriptive and behavioral variables, also comparing the response patterns of the two sample sources based on questions related to Happy Home Rank calculations. The group subsequently concluded that, despite some differences in the two sample sources, participant responses to the survey questions regarding their home were sufficiently aligned to proceed with a survey of the HomeAdvisor member database in addition to the panel sample.

Trifecta Research Group compared the combined HomeAdvisor and panel samples to a nationally representative profile of U.S. homeowners. This was done by comparing profiles of the combined samples to the best available sources of homeownership profiles and identifying any significant differences in the number of responses to the survey by generation, gender, age and region. The results are the Happy Home Rank for four generational cohorts, four regions and 44 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). All city data included in the Homeowner Happiness Index survey is reported on an MSA level.

In order to obtain analyzable base sizes for all 44 MSAs of interest to HomeAdvisor, we surveyed homeowners from both the HomeAdvisor member base and panel sources in each of these 44 MSAs. Any homeowners in each of the 44 target MSAs that fell in during national sampling were combined with MSA level targeted sample. The total number of respondents in each market varies from 300-700, with a total of 22,240 across all MSAs. Given that quotas were in place for minimum sample sizes but not capped, the number of homeowners completed surveys in each market varies. In general, the larger cities (such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles) have the largest sample sizes but not in proportion to population. Thus, we suggest that individual markets be analyzed only independently of one another.