BuildFax Reveals the Top 20 US Cities for Residential Remodeling

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Residential remodeling across the nation increased by 9% between December 2014 and December 2015, and has increased 40% since 2010. So it’s no surprise that places like Home Depot and Lowe’s are seeing revenues skyrocket. Home Depot same-store sales were up 8.9% in just the fourth quarter of 2015.

“There’s no doubt about it. Across the US, we’re seeing a massive boom in residential remodeling,” said Holly Tachovsky, CEO at BuildFax. “And some cities are off the charts. In Colorado Springs nearly 15% of homes were remodeled last year, and 12% in Orlando!”

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If you’re currently in, or have recently entered the housing market, then you’re likely well aware of just how competitive it is right now. Home prices have soared across the country and fewer homes have been on the market, making the option to renovate and work with what you have an appealing choice.

“If you think about it, it just makes sense that more people are remodeling their homes. That dream kitchen you’ve always wanted? Why enter the tough housing market when you can just build that kitchen yourself,” said Holly.

Good news for homebuyers during this remodeling boom is that they’re likely going to purchase a home that’s safer for their families. They’ll see less faulty wiring, leaky roofs, and other risk factors when renovations and their accompanying inspections have been done in recent years.

“Newly renovated homes are typically up to building code standards, and generally are more energy-efficient, too,” said Tammy Young, a leading Broker Associate for Realty Austin.

One or more homes in every ten were remodeled in the last year in Colorado Springs, Orlando, Denver, and Minneapolis. People in these cities may be avoiding the housing market by remodeling, but they also may be remodeling in order to enter the market and earn top dollar. As square footage and upgrades such as new kitchens and bathrooms increase, a home’s value does too.

“As more and more people renovate their homes, the surrounding property values go up too. So even if you’re not actively fixing your place up, you’ll see the comps in your area increasing in value,” said Holly. “As economic conditions appear to be consistent with those of 2015, we expect residential remodeling to continue at the same pace.”

BuildFax determined which cities across the US have seen the most residential remodeling activity by extracting building permit information from its massive database of over 23 billion data points of construction records. BuildFax looked at the 100 largest cities by population across the US and the number of residential remodeling projects per household to calculate the top 20 cities. 

  1. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs holds strong at number one on our list and has done so for the last three years. They’re down 5% from last year but are still on top overall. We see heavy remodeling activity across the board, but especially with regard to renovations involving electrical, mechanical, and roofing.

  1. Orlando, Florida

Orlando has remained in the number two position since 2013 despite a 14% drop from 2014. BuildFax’s investigation reveals heavy activity in renovations involving electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and roofing.

  1. Denver, Colorado

Denver saw a massive jump of 70% since 2013. The city’s roof activity alone has seen an increase of 152%. In addition to this increased roofing activity, we are also seeing a lot of renovations involving electrical and mechanical updates.

  1. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis has been in the number four position for the last two years, with an overall increase of 16% since 2013. The Twin Cities are neck-and-neck. Though we found heavy activity across the board, renovations involving plumbing, roofing, and mechanical have especially taken off.

  1. Saint Paul, Missouri

Down from the number three position in 2013, Saint Paul still has a strong showing at number five on our list despite a 25% decrease since 2013. Renovations involving electrical, plumbing, and mechanical are becoming especially prominent.

  1. Tampa, Florida

Tampa made an impressive jump from 12th position to third on our list in 2014 after an increase of 83%. However, Tampa is now down 23% to sixth but still holds a strong presence in the top ten. Renovations involving roofing, mechanical, and plumbing have a strong presence.

  1. Aurora, Colorado

Aurora soared 242% in 2014 to the seventh spot on our list. It actually fell 9% since then but has kept its spot in the roundup. This is partially due to an increase of 231% in residential roofing activity since 2013. Increased plumbing renovations also contribute to this city’s high ranking.

  1. Portland, Oregon

            Continually climbing, Portland had an increase of 13% from 2013 to now. We see heavy activity across the board, and especially with regard to renovations involving electrical, mechanical, and plumbing.

  1. Saint Louis, Missouri

Stepping up a spot to number nine, Saint Louis spent 2013 and 2014 in the 10th spot. It had 8% more residential remodeling projects since 2013, especially with regard to renovations involving plumbing, electrical, and mechanical.

  1. Madison, Wisconsin

            Despite a slow decline of .6%, Madison remains at number 10. A large quantity of renovations involving plumbing, electrical, and mechanical have helped keep the city from slipping too much.

  1. Fort Wayne, Indiana

Fort Wayne managed to jump from the 13th position to the 11th spot in this year’s roundup. Renovations involving electrical, plumbing, and roofing contributed to the city’s big leap.

  1. San Francisco, California

San Francisco flew across six cities since last year’s rankings, having had an increase in residential remodeling projects of 8%. We see heavy activity across the board but especially with regard to renovations involving plumbing and electrical.

  1. Kansas City, Missouri

            Moving up a spot in this year’s roundup, Kansas City saw an 8% increase since last year. Electrical, mechanical, and plumbing renovations have been major contributing factors to the city’s gradual incline.

  1. Austin, Texas

Austin has seen an increase of nearly 10% in the last three years, moving up a spot from last year to number 14. In its ascent on our list, we see significant renovation activity involving plumbing, electrical, and mechanical.

  1. Sacramento, California

Sacramento catapulted to the 15th position this year after an increase of 50% since 2013. Residential solar activity alone shot up by 320% over the last three years. In addition to renovations involving solar, we also saw many renovations involving roofing and mechanical renovations.

  1. Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha dropped from number four on our list in 2013 to number 16 this year. A 63% decline in residential remodeling over the last three years is partially to blame, but the city still sits in the top 20 due to renovations involving electrical, mechanical, and plumbing.

  1. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Winston-Salem had an uptick in residential remodeling in 2014 and holds steady in this year’s number 17 spot. We see heavy activity across the board, especially for renovations involving mechanical, electrical, and plumbing.

  1. Columbus, Ohio

Dipping slightly by 1% over the last three years, Columbus has still managed to maintain its position in the top 20 at number 18. Renovations involving roofing, plumbing, and mechanical have continued to be leading projects.

  1. Fremont, California

Fremont had a 25% increase since 2013 and is growing in other categories as well. It also made our Top 20 Fastest Growing Cities for Commercial Remodeling (coming soon). In regards to  renovations, roofing, solar, and plumbing lead the way.

  1. Dallas, Texas

Dallas is a steady performer, having had only a .86% change over the last three years in residential remodeling. Residential new construction however, is down by 24%. We see elevated residential remodeling activity across the board, but especially in renovations involving electrical, mechanical, and plumbing.


You may have noticed more renovation activity in your own city. Do you think it will make next year’s list? Share your predictions for next year below!