Cost vs. Value: 2021 Home Improvement Projects With the Highest ROI

Posted on May 24 2021 - 2:41pm by Jameson Doris
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Among all the uncertainties that the past 14 months have brought to the U.S. housing market, one of the few things that has remained constant is the value that home improvement projects add to a home. Exterior home improvement projects, in particular, took center stage in 2021, according to Remodeling magazine's Cost vs. Value Report.

Related: 3 Renovations That Can Help You Sell Your Home Faster

Of the top 12 projects that garner the highest return on investment (ROI) this year, 11 of them are exterior projects. The lone outlier? The always-popular minor kitchen remodel ranked at No. 3, with 72% of the cost for such a job recovered.

A key takeaway from this year’s report is the impact that rising raw materials costs has had on home improvement projects. Since 2014, prices have risen across the board for all the projects ranked in the Cost vs. Value Report, but this year has seen a stark spike in prices. This has caused an average of -3% ROI for all home improvement projects.

“[There was] a sharp increase in costs in the last year brought on by supply-chain disruptions largely created by the pandemic, but complicated by global trading tariffs,” says Clay DeKorne, chief editor of the JLC Group, which includes Remodeling magazine. “Mirroring the increase in costs, the value-over-cost ratio as a percentage has steadily declined over the same period.”

Here are the 22 projects tracked in the 2021 Cost vs. Value Report, ranked by the highest percentage of ROI nationally:

Credit: Remodeling

The 2021 Cost vs. Value Report compared the average costs for 22 popular remodeling projects and how much of that value they retained at resale in 150 different U.S. housing markets. View the full report, including project descriptions and city-level data, here.