Forget Keeping Up With the Joneses: The 15 States Where Homeowners Spend the Most on Home Improvement Projects

The number of home improvement loans across the U.S. increased, with some states far outpacing the rest of the country.
Happy African American couple talking while analyzing blueprints with manual worker in the apartment.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Some projects require elbow grease and DIY guides from Bob Vila. Others require home improvement loans and professional crews. Turns out, people in some states are going all-in when it comes to the latter. In an analysis of Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data by Construction Coverage, the number of single-family home improvement loans originating in 2022 rose to nearly 750,000; that’s a big increase from approximately 550,000 in 2021.

While economic downturns usually affect home improvement spending negatively, the Covid-19 pandemic turned that trend on its head. People stuck at home who had disposable income, or those who decided to postpone a move, put their creative energy and unused travel funds to work on their houses. That trend might be on the decline, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University’s July 2023 report. The center predicts a 5.9 percent drop in residential improvement and maintenance spending through the second quarter of 2024. In the meantime, homeowners in these 15 states have made some major improvements.

RELATED: The Best Home Improvement Loans

15. Ohio

Aerial view of Downtown Columbus Ohio with Scioto river

Ohio moved up in the rankings to make this top 15 home improvement loan list after coming in 32nd in the previous report. The capital city of Columbus saw 7,592 home improvement loans granted out of the state’s 34,930 total loans. The state’s median home price is the lowest of the 15 states on the list at $218,865, and the median loan amount is also on the low end at $55,000. Popular Midwest projects include finishing a basement and replacing windows for improved home value.

RELATED: How to Get a Home Improvement Loan That’s Right for You

14 and 13. North Carolina and Wisconsin

Welcome to North Carolina and Wisconsin

Residents of both North Carolina and Wisconsin have a home-team advantage when it comes to DIY. The Lowe’s home improvement retail chain has its headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina. Cities like Wilmington, Charlotte, and Raleigh-Cary led the way with popular regional projects like screened porches and outdoor entertainment areas.

Wisconsin residents live in the same state as the Menard’s headquarters in Eau Claire. Citizens of Milwaukee-Waukesha took out the most loans in the state, with residents seeing higher home values after projects like hardwood flooring and new roofing. Homeowners in both states took out 10.9 home improvement loans per 1,000 residents, but the North Carolina median loan was $20,000 higher than Wisconsin’s $55,000 median.

RELATED: Types of Home Improvement Loans

12. Arizona

Mesa, Arizona, USA - March 5, 2019: Daytime view of the Mesa Arts Center and Center/Main St station in the heart of the downtown district

With a median loan amount of $95,000, Arizona saw home improvements decrease slightly from their peak in the previous year’s report. But with 11.4 loans per 1,000 residents and the Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler metropolitan area seeing much of the loan activity, 21,816 loans were issued to homeowners. Unfortunately, Arizona borrowers had the highest median interest rate at 5.25 percent. But adding solar panels, one of the most common projects for the sunny state, could go a long way toward lowering long-term costs.

RELATED: Solved! Are Solar Panels Really Worth the Cost?

11. Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA at dusk.

While it’s eleventh on the list of most loans per capita, Pennsylvania takes the lead among the top states with the highest number of total loans at 42,214 issued in a year. Pittsburgh, Lancaster, Harrisburg-Carlisle, and York-Hanover all made top-15 city lists for home improvement loans as well, showing a statewide trend for home upgrades. The median loan amount was $65,000, and popular regional projects included expanding the kitchen and adding a breakfast bar.

RELATED: Kitchen Remodel Financing 101: Every Loan Option to Consider

10. Vermont

Burlington, Vermont, USA at Church Street Marketplace.

Although it comes in with only 2,400 home improvement loans, Vermont makes the list due to its lower population and the ratio of homeowners taking out loans. The study shows 11.8 loans originated per 1,000 residents, and the median loan amount was $55,000. Homeowners in the Burlington-South Burlington area were especially busy with projects like finishing walk-out basements and adding outdoor decks.

RELATED: The Pros and Cons of Finishing Your Unfinished Basement

9. Hawaii

The beautiful coastline of Honolulu Hawaii shot from an altitude of about 1000 feet during a helicopter photo flight over the Pacific Ocean with Diamond Head in the foreground.

The cost of living is 50 percent higher in Hawaii than the national average. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that the state’s median home improvement loan is the highest of the top 15, at $175,000. The median home price also tops the list at $840,928. However, the state’s home improvement loan median interest rate is the lowest of the list at 2.75 percent. Popular among homeowners’ projects on the islands are plans that bring indoor and outdoor living together, like lanais and outdoor kitchens.

RELATED: How Much Does an Outdoor Kitchen Cost?

8. Massachusetts

Zakim Bridge in Boston Massachusetts

Residents of Massachusetts took out home improvement loans at a rate of 13.7 per 1,000 homeowners. Boston-Cambridge and Barnstable Town made the ranks of top city lists for home improvement loans. The median loan amount of $105,000 with a median 4.38-percent interest rate in the northeastern state went toward cold-weather resistant projects, such as installing central heating and adding a hot tub, among others.

RELATED: Heat Pump Cost Guide: Installation and Replacement

7. Oregon

Sunrise at Portland, Oregon

Oregonians took out 16,252 home improvement loans over the course of 2022; that’s 15 per 1,000 residents borrowing for home projects. The median loan amount of $75,000 with a median interest rate of 4.75 percent went toward projects likely to improve home sales value in the area, such as adding a manufactured stone veneer to the exterior of the home and upgrading the garage door or siding.

RELATED: 10 Siding Options to Beautify Your Home

6. New Hampshire

Manchester, New Hampshire, USA Skyline on the Merrimack River at dusk.

Homeowners in Newton and Manchester-Nashua ranked on top lists for cities taking out the most home improvement loans, and New Hampshire residents as a whole took out 6,264 home improvement loans—a rate of 15.6 per 1,000 residents. The median loan amount was $85,000 with a 4.5-percent interest rate. Trending up among features homeowners value in the area are vinyl siding and central air conditioning.

RELATED: New Air Conditioning for Old Houses

5. Rhode Island

Capitol Hill with famous landmark of Providence: Rhode Island State House with view of the city.

Homeowners in Rhode Island took out 4,496 home improvement loans, a rate of 15.9 per 1,000 residents. Funds likely went toward common value-add projects like bathroom remodels, as well as popular regional projects like adding a back patio or deck and expanding the overall square footage of homes. The median loan amount was $85,000, with a median home value statewide of $436,612.

RELATED: How to Get Bathroom Remodel Financing With a Loan or Line of Credit

4. Washington

Seattle skyline at dusk with the mount Rainier in the background.

The median loan amount in Washington is one of the highest at $105,000, as is the median home value of $574,114. Homeowners took out 32,060 home improvement loans during the year, a rate of 16.2 per 1,000 residents. Multiple cities in Washington made top lists of cities taking out home improvement loans, including Bremerton-Silverdale-Port Orchard, Longview-Kelso, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Spokane-Spokane Valley, Vancouver, and Wenatchee-East Wenatchee. Popular projects in the area include covered outdoor living spaces that are rain-resistant, as well as rainwater harvesting systems and energy-efficient window replacements.

RELATED: The Best Energy-Efficient Windows

3. Colorado

Aerial View of Colorado Springs with Autumn Colors

With a median interest rate of 4.99 percent, 26,912 home improvement loans were taken out by Colorado residents. The median loan amount was $95,000. Value-add projects for Colorado homeowners include upgraded kitchen countertops, increased storage, and adding a media room. The remodeling bug bit residents statewide with Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver-Aurora-Centennial, Fort Collins-Loveland, and Greeley all making top lists of cities taking out home improvement loans.

RELATED: The Best Countertop Material for Every Type of Kitchen

2. Idaho

Bicycler waiting for the green light in the main street of Boise historic downtown.

Homeowners in Idaho took out 9,814 home improvement loans, a rate of 18.9 per 1,000 residents. The median home loan amount was $95,000 with an interest rate of 4.99 percent. Projects that could boost home value in the area include upgrading the outdoor space, adding blinds, and carpeting the home’s living areas. Boise City, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, and Twin Falls all made lists of top cities taking out home improvement loans.

RELATED: The 4 Best Carpet Installation Companies

1. Utah

Ogden, Utah, USA - April 28, 2019: Daytime of the Ogden welcome sign looking north on Washington Blvd

Far outpacing residents in all other states, Utah’s homeowners took out home improvement loans at a rate of 26 per 1,000 residents. The media loan amount was $85,000 with an interest rate of 4.74 percent. The remodeling trend extends across the state with Ogden, Provo-Orem-Lehi, Salt Lake City-Murray, St. George, and Logan noted as top cities for home improvement investments. Projects likely include features that add value to Utah homes in particular, such as finished basements and swimming pools or hot tubs.