Obsidian Market Update 9/25/20

Good afternoon,

As we wind up the month of September and are officially in the fall season, we’re focusing on hearth and home this week. From an economic perspective, we have news about home improvement trends and what that means for homeowners. Then, we’ll take a look at the trend of relocation in the age of remote work.

First, though, a general stock market update. It’s been quite a year of highs and lows, and amateur investors enter the market to try to profit from the market’s twists and turns. However, experts warn that volatility plays are not a good strategy for the average investor. By the time a trend has hit the market, it’s too late, and even experts with access to raw data and a deep understanding of the market will miss sometimes. The best strategy for volatility for nearly all investors is a diverse portfolio. In addition to stocks, bonds, and related funds, having some investments that don’t typically mirror wider stock market moves, like commodities, currencies, or real estate, can also help diversify.

Due to COVID-19, Americans are spending more time at home than ever before, leading to a record amount of spending on home improvement.

It’s not a big surprise since many Americans now find their homes are doing triple duty as a place to live, work, and learn. Homeowners are funneling more money into their homes than ever thanks to a surplus of cash they would typically spend in other ways. However, what is surprising is the amount being spent on home improvement projects.

The average homeowner has spent around $17,140 during the pandemic to make their homes more enjoyable while sheltering in place. This increase is substantial compared to the 2019 State of Home Spending Report, which showed the average spending on home improvement was $7,560. Additionally, studies show that 79% of homeowners begin their home improvement projects without a budget. This is an increase from 2019, where 75% of homeowners didn’t have a budget.

Besides home offices, many Americans are taking to outfitting their backyards to make the most of their living space. Pools are one of the top requests for contractors, as it gives people a backyard addition that allows them to keep fit. Searches on Houzz.com are three times what they were a year ago, as more and more Americans look to their backyards to help them weather the pandemic

The increased need for building supplies has driven up the price—making items such as lumber harder to come by. Despite the scarcity of supplies, rock bottom interest rates and spending more time at home have made home improvement projects large and small attractive to homeowners

Speaking of homes, with the new work from home culture arising from the pandemic, more and more people close to retirement are considering buying their retirement homes while they’re still working. Soon to be retirees are considering factors like proximity to family, cost of living, access to hospitals, climate, and state taxes when making their decisions. Florida, Tennessee, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas have seen an influx of retirees for the past several years and maybe gaining late-career workers who want to settle in before they retire fully. Others might take advantage of being able to work from anywhere to try living in a new place temporarily to decide if the area works for them before committing to buying a home.

If you have upgraded your home recently or have any questions about moving, mortgages, or financing a home improvement project, please give us a call. We’re always happy to help.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Securities offered through Triad Advisors, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services offered through Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC. Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC, and Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, Inc, are not affiliated with Triad Advisors.