Happy at Home? You Must Have a Big Screen TV

There really is no place like home for most of us.

According to a recent survey by Houzz, an online platform that provides resources for home design and renovation, the majority of homeowners say a comfortable home is key to their happiness. Top of the list of things at home that make them happy are large windows and comfy furniture.

Great, but those large windows may be a waste of light on the males in the family; 40 percent of men said that having a big-screen TV makes them happy, and 15 percent noted that even the sound of TV is appealing to them.

Chores – not so much. Almost a third of people surveyed said they would be happy if they never had to wash another dish. And 16 percent admitted they’d really like to skip making the bed – this despite the fact that nearly a quarter of survey respondents who said their homes needed work felt happiest in their bedrooms – however messy. Or maybe the bedroom was an escape from the mess in the rest of the place.

That said, most people do prefer their homes to be clean, organized, and comfortable. However, women prefer things to be organized, while men listed comfort as the most important factor in making them happy at home.

Homes were most happy when shared with others: Nearly half of respondents were happiest with their immediate family in the house, and close to 30 percent said a home filled with friends and family made them happy.

Not surprisingly, that means a big thumbs up for family and/or living rooms as places where survey respondents most enjoy spending time…they even come out ahead of bedrooms.

Ranking second as the room where people were happiest: the kitchen. Why? Well, this may have something to do with it: The number-one smell that made people happy at home was food.

Is the Reno Binge Good or Bad for the Housing Market?

Canadians are sprucing up their existing homes instead of trading up, according to a recent report from Scotiabank Economics.

According to the report by Scotiabank economist Adrienne Warren, renovation spending increased at an annual rate of 6 percent between 2000 and 2012, double that of new builds. It is now the fastest-growing segment of the real estate investment market.

However, there are downsides to this rapid growth, not the least of which is the sophisticated buyer who will pay for some renos and not others: Upgraded bathrooms and kitchens, the creation of additional living space, and improved outdoor living areas are valued by buyers. But selling a home with expensive renovations that put it out-of-line with the neighbourhood may not have the desired result; few buyers will want to pay $650,000 for an over-renovated home in an area where neighbouring properties average $500,000.

As well, the home-renovation boom may be at the root of structural problems occurring in many (mainly urban) markets. The growth in renovation activities may be one reason why potential move-up buyers are becoming discouraged.

It works this way: Good-quality renovations can improve a home’s value, and sellers, naturally, will expect to recoup their renovation costs in the selling price. In many cases, they do.

However, these flush sellers-turned-buyers are unable to find new properties to move into that they can afford, particularly when inventories of detached homes are at a record low in many markets. It’s a catch 22, and many housing experts are concerned.