Atlanta residents spent this much on home renovations last year

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Homeowners were busy with DIY projects during pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people found themselves wanting to switch things up at home, whether that meant creating a new home office or finally tackling a project from their to-do lists.

Recently, Houzz released a report of U.S. home renovation in 2020 and 2021.

It found that the median home renovation spend has increased in 27 of the top 50 metro areas around the nation.

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“Home renovation spend has grown 15% in the last year to a median $15,000. Higher-budget projects (with the top 10% of project spend) saw an increase from $85,000 or more in 2020, compared with $80,000 in the two years prior,” the report said.

Atlanta was in that category. With a $15,000 median spend, metro area renovators spent 36% more in 2020 than in 2019 on renovations.

“This is consistent with the slight shift toward more expensive projects by renovating homeowners,” Houzz said of the double-digit increases. “Milwaukee, Wisconsin and St. Louis top the list with 67% and 50% annual increases in 2020, respectively.”

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Bankrate reported that home renovation costs soared in 2020. But that doesn’t mean they’ll go back down.

“It used to be fixing damage, decay, repair or to get a return on investment to your house,” Mischa Fisher, chief economist at Angi and HomeAdvisor said. “The home is a versatile place, it has to serve all these functions — it’s not just an asset you buy to try to get a return on in three years.”

If you want to renovate your home for a return, though, certain updates are better investments.

“Exterior façade facelifts improve the curb appeal and make a great first impression as buyers approach the home,” Clayton DeKorne, editor-in-chief of Remodeling and JLC magazines told CNBC. “That translates to real dollars at the closing table, which is why we see such tangible returns on those investments.”

Garage door replacement, manufactured stone veneer and a minor kitchen remodel are among the renovations that offer the greatest returns in resale value.