CAMBRIDGE (CBS) — 2020 was a record-breaking year for home improvements. Harvard University researchers found that Americans spent nearly $420 billion, much of it on do-it-yourself projects.

The study found that in late March of 2020, about 60% of people said they started at least one project in the previous two to three weeks. By early May that number jumped to nearly 80%.

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“While the US economy shrank by 3.5 percent in 2020, spending on home improvements and repairs grew more than 3 percent, to nearly $420 billion, as households modified living spaces for work, school, and leisure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote researcher Kermit Baker, who is director of the Remodeling Futures Program.

Read The Report (PDF)

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He said that while the pandemic brought professional home remodeling to a halt, DIY projects surged.

The report predicts that due to changes in housing situations caused by the pandemic, “demand for remodeling projects could be even stronger than currently anticipated.”

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