Home Improvement

Home Improvement Market Sees Surge During Pandemic

PALM BEACH,  Fla., Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Analysts expect home improvement spending to reach $439.9 billion in 2020 – In the time of a global pandemic, there is indeed no place like home. As millions of Americans practice social distancing while working and learning remotely, the home has become the focal point of our lives. The desire to make residences safer, more comfortable and more enjoyable has led to a home improvement boom.   Mentioned in today’s commentary includes:  NeoVolta (OTCQB: NEOV), Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW).

The Home Improvement Research Institute predicts Americans will spend $439.9 billion on home improvement products in 2020. The online home remodeling platform Houzz reports that demand for kitchen and bath remodeling was up 40% year over date in June 2020, while home additions increased 52% and fencing projects jumped 166%. Pool and hot tub installations are seeing a wave of strong demand across the country. 

Home renewable energy is also seeing a surge as storage batteries are being installed in more households. According to the U.S. Energy Storage Monitor, the energy storage industry saw record-breaking deployments during the second quarter of 2020, and rapid expansion is expected to continue. A total of 168 MW and 288 MWh of energy storage was deployed in the quarter, second only to Q4 2019 as the highest on record, according to the joint report by Wood Mackenzie and the U.S. Energy Storage Association.

With Americans nesting like never before, four of the companies active in-home improvement are: NeoVolta (NEOV), Tesla (TSLA), Home Depot (HD) and Lowe’s (LOW).

NeoVolta (OTCQB: NEOV) – San Diego based NeoVolta, whose stock is trading around $4 per share, is the only pure-play energy storage company on this list. Recently NeoVolta announced an exclusive distribution

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AutoZone and Three Other Retailers to Buy for the Election

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AutoZone is on Wells Fargo analyst Zachary Fadem’s list of best ideas..


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

With the presidential election just over three weeks away,

Wells Fargo

took a look at what the results could mean for the retail sector. The bank found that the best bets are in home improvement and auto parts.

Analyst Zachary Fadem noted that Democratic nominee Joe Biden, now leading in the polls, has pledged to return corporate taxes to their level before the 2017 tax cuts, at around 28%. While that might be a concern for investors, he said retailers have advantages that could help offset the pain.

If limits on state and local tax deductions are also removed, he said, many consumers may spend more. Potential new tax credits, such as for child care, could also put more money into the pockets of low- and middle-class consumers, funds they might use for more shopping.

Ultimately, he said risks linked to the election are “relatively low for our coverage,” making it likely that recent trends will continue. He listed

AutoZone

(ticker: AZO),

O’Reilly Automotive

(ORLY),

Home Depot

(HD), and

Lowe’s

(LOW) as his best ideas, as he has previously.

In the five most recent election years, Fadem said, so-called hardline retailers, selling durable goods, outperformed the broader market in the three-, six-, and 12-month periods post-election.

Tractor Supply

(TSCO), O’Reilly,

Best Buy

(BBY), and

Williams-Sonoma

(WSM) were “notable standouts,” he said.

The pattern also held true in the final two months of presidential election years, which could bode well for the group going into the end of 2020.

With current tariffs remaining in place, the 28% tax rate Biden favors would chip away about 9% from the group’s earnings per share, on average, he says. Retailers with exposure to the highest-tax states, such

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Consumers Feathering Their Connected Home Nests

Among the more unexpected effects of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last half-year or so is the sudden home improvement boom it set off among consumers.  Unexpected, but not entirely surprising, as consumers suddenly spending nearly all of their time in their homes these days have realized that home ought to be as nice and as comfortable as humanly imaginable. And since they’re not eating out, travelling far from home or going to events very much these days, many even have the budget to make some upgrades.

New furniture, new appliances, new floors, swimming pools, gardening supplies, tools boxes, paint and patio furniture are just a short list of things that have seen their sales surge as the homebound have begun feathering their nests and making their homes more comfortable, useful and aesthetically pleasing.

And, as new data released by Security research company Security.org indicates, that upgrade wave among consumers is increasingly extending to making their homes smarter as well.  The overwhelming majority of consumers report already owning at least one smart home device (91 percent), with a very solid majority planning to purchase more in the not-too-distant future.  The survey found 64 percent of respondents said they were planning to buy a new type of smart home technology within the next year.

Now, there are caveats with the data — the first of which is the survey cast a very wide net for what “counted” as a smart home device to get to that 91 percent, including expected stuff like smart speakers, smart lights, thermostats, etc, but also things like smart TVs, which tend to inflate the figures. But the survey does show that smart appliances are gaining ground among consumers, which at least strongly indicates that smartening up their homes is

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Don’t Let Home Improvements Leave You Underinsured

By Ben Moore



a tree in front of a house: Don't Let Home Improvements Leave You Underinsured


© TheStreet
Don’t Let Home Improvements Leave You Underinsured

As many Americans face months on end stuck at home, some are using their time (and money) to create a change of scenery or upgrade their surroundings. Office equipment purchases are on the rise, and people are tackling more renovation projects than usual.

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But expensive new stuff and significant home improvements can leave you underinsured. If you’re considering making changes to your home — or if you already have — it’s smart to revisit your homeowners or renters policy. Here’s how to ensure it covers the new additions.

Tell Your Insurer About Your Plans

There’s a good chance you’re underinsured before you even make changes, according to Don Griffin, vice president of personal lines at American Property Casualty Insurance Association. Talk to your insurer before making any expensive purchases or changes to your home to inform the company of your plans and clarify your policy’s current coverages and limits. If your home costs more to replace after you’ve improved it, some insurers will pay the new expense to rebuild, but “that’s not every policy, and it may not cover everything you need,” Griffin says. He also recommends once a year reviewing what your home insurance policy covers.

>> Plus, from Robert Powell’s Retirement Daily on TheStreet: The Four Ingredients to Living Well in the New Retirement

In some cases, you may need to change carriers to get the coverage you need. Frank Jones, an independent agent and partner at Mints Insurance Agency in Millville, New Jersey, has seen clients switch insurers because an addition wasn’t covered. “It’s in your best interest to have these conversations now rather than to have a claim denied,” he says.

A new desk and computer for remote learning, plus that monitor

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Lowe’s gives $100 million more in bonuses to hourly employees

Shoppers wearing protective masks wait in line to enter a Lowe’s Cos. store in San Bruno, California, U.S., on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Lowe’s said Wednesday it will give $100 million more in bonuses to hourly employees, as strong demand for home improvement continues.

It marks the sixth time the home improvement retailer has given additional pay to workers at its stores, distribution centers and support centers during the coronavirus pandemic. It gave bonuses to part-time, full-time and seasonal employees in March, May, July and August. It also increased pay by $2 an hour for the month of April. 

With the latest round, the home improvement retailer will have paid more than $675 million in additional pay to employees this year. It will pay the latest bonuses on Oct. 16. Full-time hourly employees will receive $300 and part-time and seasonal hourly employees will receive $150.

Also Wednesday, Lowe’s announced a cash tender offer for up to $3.5 billion of its outstanding debt securities. The company said the goal of the offer is to reduce its interest expenses and manage the maturities of its debt. 

Other retailers, including Walmart, Target and Kroger, have also given bonuses or increased worker pay during the pandemic. Walmart has given three rounds of bonuses and said it would remain closed on Thanksgiving to give employees time with their families. Target speeded along plans to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour as it phased out a temporary, pandemic-related $2 an hour wage increase.

Customers have shopped at Lowe’s for DIY supplies, kitchen appliances and landscaping tools as they spend more time at home during the pandemic. The global health crisis has also inspired some Americans to move out of cities and buy homes in suburban or

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