AmEx sees America on the move

American Express says 35 million Americans plan to move this year; that's up 50% from last year.

The New York-based financial company's Spending & Saving Tracker also reports that seller confidence increased 36%; and 72% plan to spend an average of $4,000 on home improvements.

The data, available in its entirety here, paints an optimistic picture that is consistent with the current theories of a slowly recovering housing market, and even goes a step or two further. Perhaps not coincidentally, the study tracked affluent homeowners (minimum income of $100,000). 

“Consumers are investing in their homes this year across nearly every category from DIY to new home furnishings,” said David Rabkin, senior VP U.S. Consumer Lending Products, American Express. “Whether they’re redoing one room or the whole house, there is a significant bump in spending that should bode well for many merchants.”

Even if Americans aren't moving, the vast majority (72%) of them have at least one home improvement project on their to-do list this year, expecting to spend an average of $4,000, up from $3,500 in 2012.

The tracker study also found:

  • 62% have plans to purchase new home accessories or furniture;
  • 63% are remodeling their interiors, spending an average of $3,300;
  • 39% are remodeling outdoors or landscaping, spending an average of $1,800;
  • 39% are re-doing a single room, spending an average of $2,900; and
  • 33% are updating their appliances, spending an average of $1,033.

While many believe the improvements will add to the value of their home (30%), the majority is upgrading because they want a home that better reflects their personal styles (33%).

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 1,518 adults, including the general U.S. population, an affluent demographic, defined by a minimum annual household income of $100,000, and homeowners.