Curb appeal really does have a major impact on the return you'll see at resale. Among the top 10 home improvement projects with the highest return on investment (ROI) in Remodeling magazine's newly-released Cost vs. Value Report, nine are outdoor projects.
Related: 4 Resolutions for Home Improvements to Make in 2020
Topping this year's list is Manufactured Stone Veneer, a project that has consistently ranked toward the top of the list since the project was added to the report in 2015.
Unsurprisingly, the report shows an increase in cost for all 22 projects listed; however, there is also a consistent dip across the board in terms of what the perceived value of each of these projects is. This is likely due to a market that was anything but smooth in 2019.
"Why the difference? The most likely answer is consumer jitters," says Clay DeKorne, chief editor of the JLC Group, which includes Remodeling magazine. "While remodeling professionals need to stay on point, they can breathe easy. Remodeling activity is growing at a slower rate than in years past, but it continues to grow."
Nationally, here are the 10 projects with the greatest ROI, according to the 2020 Cost vs. Value Report:
Manufactured Stone Veneer (95.6% ROI)
- Average Cost: $9,357
- Average Resale Value: $8,943
Garage Door Replacement (94.5% ROI)
- Average Cost: $3,695
- Average Resale Value: $3,491
Minor Kitchen Remodel (Midrange) (77.6% ROI)
- Average Cost: $23,452
- Average Resale Value: $18,206
Siding Replacement (Fiber-Cement) (77.6% ROI)
- Average Cost: $17,008
- Average Resale Value: $13,195
Siding Replacement (Vinyl) (74.7% ROI)
- Average Cost: $14,359
- Average Resale Value: $10,731
Window Replacement (Vinyl) (72.3% ROI)
- Average Cost: $17,641
- Average Resale Value: $12,761
Deck Addition (Wood) (72.1% ROI)
- Average Cost: $14,360
- Average Resale Value: $10,355
Window Replacement (Wood) (68.9% ROI)
- Average Cost: $21,495
- Average Resale Value: $14,804
Entry Door Replacement (Steel) (68.8% ROI)
- Average Cost: $1,881
- Average Resale Value: $1,294
Deck Addition (Composite) (66.8% ROI)
- Average Cost: $19,856
- Average Resale Value: $13,257
Nationally—and on the other end of the spectrum—here are the 10 projects with the lowest ROI:
Master Suite Addition (Upscale) (51.6% ROI)
- Average Cost: $282,062
- Average Resale Value: $145,486
Grand Entrance (Fiberglass) (53.3% ROI)
- Average Cost: $9,254
- Average Resale Value: $4,930
Major Kitchen Remodel (Upscale) (53.9% ROI)
- Average Cost: $135,547
- Average Resale Value: $72,993
Bathroom Addition (Midrange) (54% ROI)
- Average Cost: $49,598
- Average Resale Value: $26,807
Bathroom Addition (Upscale) (54.7% ROI)
- Average Cost: $91,287
- Average Resale Value: $49,961
Bath Remodel (Upscale) (56.6% ROI)
- Average Cost: $67,106
- Average Resale Value: $37,995
Master Suite Addition (Midrange) (58.5% ROI)
- Average Cost: $136,739
- Average Resale Value: $80,029
Major Kitchen Remodel (Midrange) (58.6% ROI)
- Average Cost: $68,490
- Average Resale Value: $40,127
Roofing Replacement (Metal) (61.2% ROI)
- Average Cost: $40,318
- Average Resale Value: $24,682
Bathroom Remodel (Universal Design) (62% ROI)
- Average Cost: $34,643
- Average Resale Value: $21,463
The 2020 Cost vs. Value Report compared the average costs for 22 popular remodeling projects and how much of that value they retained in 101 different U.S. housing markets. View the full report, including project descriptions and city-level data, here.
This is certainly an eye-opening article for me. Seeing that manufactured stone veener project at an average costs of $10K trumps a full kitchen remodel and not be a slim margin but a huge margin for ROI makes me shake my head.
as an appraiser i fell this information from “big data” is very misleading – improvement/return needs to be evaluated per individual house and marketing area – even a remodeled kitchen may not return what is projected (ie a two year old house where the owner changed the kitchen from one upscale kitchen to a differnt style cause they didnt like the first one, (or a low end market area where people just cant afford to pay for a remodel, updating may be more cost effective) added bedroom in retirment community may only be worth gla factor – adding 4th bathroom in a 2 bath market ? giving such set numbers is misleading and may result in your clients wasting thier money. Big Data is useful only when filtered by evaluating each individual property, marketing area and trends.
I’ve been a part of this survey, and just participating made me sure that these are pretty generalized findings. Each area, each lot, each house will bear a different ROI on anything!!
This macro data is helpful in pointing out to homeowners that, in the aggregate, remodeling projects can often return only a fraction of their anticipated cost. The Cost-vs-Value Report provides further data broken down by region, which is more helpful when analyzing specific projects and ROI on a more micro level. Homeowners often ask us whether they should remodel their home in anticipation of selling it, and we counsel them with these numbers in mind.
How about adding solar panels to your list. I’ve seen owners lose so much money on panels another buyer doesn’t want to assume a payment on.
Thank you for your valued opinion! I agree it varies by market and individual house and can lead some down the wrong path. “Big data” makes our jobs much more difficult Realtor
Definitely something that is worth talking about, this has been the most asked question for me as a home renovator
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The Cost-vs-Value Report provides further data broken down by region, which is more helpful when analyzing specific projects and ROI on a more micro level. It will be very useful for the person who wants to know about home improvement projects with the highest return on investment in Remodeling magazine’s newly-released.
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This made for an interesting read. What is the most commonly chosen option from these?
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There could be other ways to lower the cost of home renovation, home remodeling may grow a little slower than before but it is still a good thing that it’s growing.
Some great ideas here. Thanks for sharing
This is a good source for my research for the highest ROI in home improvements.
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Nice idea to decorate my room with photo frames and changing the wall color! I already have many photo frames lying in my storeroom now after reading this I think it is time to use them for decoration.