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Female hands framing custom kitchen design.Favorable economic conditions have long triggered investment in home improvements—more money, more upgrades—and progress on the housing front is set to spur the next wave of homeowner spending on both necessary and discretionary projects.

How should homeowners invest their remodeling dollars this year?  By and large, homeowners can expect to reap the highest returns on projects that cost relatively less, according to REMODELING magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report.

On a national scale, the top five projects with the greatest return on investment (ROI) in the report’s “midrange” cost category are:

  1. Attic Insulation (Fiberglass) (116.9% ROI)
    Average Cost: $1,268
    Average Resale Value: $1,482
  2. Manufactured Stone Veneer (92.9% ROI)
    Average Cost: $7,519
    Average Resale Value: $6,988
  1. Garage Door Replacement (91.5% ROI)
    Average Cost: $1,652
    Average Resale Value: $1,512
  2. Entry Door Replacement (Steel) (91.1% ROI)
    Average Cost: $1,335
    Average Resale Value: $1,217
  3. Minor Kitchen Remodel (83.1% ROI)
    Average Cost: $20,122
    Average Resale Value: $16,716

On a national scale, the top five projects with the greatest ROI in the report’s “upscale” cost category are:

  1. Garage Door Replacement (90.1% ROI)
    Average Cost: $3,140
    Average Resale Value: $2,830
  2. Siding Replacement (Fiber-Cement) (78.1% ROI)
    Average Cost: $14,520
    Average Resale Value: $11,342
  3. Window Replacement (Vinyl) (73.3% ROI)
    Average Cost: $14,725
    Average Resale Value: $10,794
  4. Window Replacement (Wood) (72.1% ROI)
    Average Cost: $18,087
    Average Resale Value: $13,050
  5. Grand Entrance (Fiberglass) (69.6% ROI)
    Average Cost: $7,971
    Average Resale Value: $5,545

On the whole, regional data mirror these national findings, but variations exist in markets abuzz with real estate activity. Homeowners in the Pacific region (California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington), for instance, can expect to see six of the 30 projects analyzed in the report recoup over 100 percent of their cost.

At the other end of the spectrum are projects with the lowest returns on investment—improvements generally not in demand by the market.

On a national scale, the five projects with the lowest ROI in the “midrange” cost category are:

  1. Bathroom Addition (56.2% ROI)
    Average Cost: $42,233
    Average Resale Value: $23,727
  2. Backup Power Generator (59.4% ROI)
    Average Cost: $12,712
    Average Resale Value: $7,556
  3. Master Suite Addition (64.1% ROI)
    Average Cost: $115,810
    Average Resale Value: $74,224
  4. Deck Addition (Composite) (64.4% ROI)
    Average Cost: $16,798
    Average Resale Value: $10,819
  5. Major Kitchen Remodel (64.9% ROI)
    Average Cost: $59,999
    Average Resale Value: $38,938

On a national scale, the five projects with the lowest ROI in the “upscale” cost category are:

  1. Bathroom Addition (56.7% ROI)
    Average Cost: $79,380
    Average Resale Value: $45,006
  2. Master Suite Addition (57.2% ROI)
    Average Cost: $245,474
    Average Resale Value: $140,448
  3. Bathroom Remodel (57.5% ROI)
    Average Cost: $57,411
    Average Resale Value: $32,998
  4. Deck Addition (Composite) (57.7% ROI)
    Average Cost: $37,943
    Average Resale Value: $21,877
  5. Major Kitchen Remodel (61.5% ROI)
    Average Cost: $119,909
    Average Resale Value: $73,707

The 2016 Cost vs. Value Report compares, across 100 markets, the average cost of 30 popular remodeling projects with their average value at resale one year later. Average resale value is calculated based on estimates provided by real estate professionals. View the full report, including project descriptions and city-level data, here.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for winning real estate tips and trends.


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