More Than Half of U.S. Homes Are Likely to Feature Outdoor Rooms by 2007


Washington, DC (June 16, 2006) – According to research from the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), 35 percent of homeowners surveyed currently have a finished outdoor room and one in three of those homeowners who do not yet have one (34 percent) plan to design and furnish an outdoor room by next spring. Taken together, more than half of United States homes could have an outdoor entertaining area in 2007.

The survey results indicate that consumers are confident they will realize a return on their investment – 84 percent of those surveyed said an outdoor room would add “some” or “a great deal” of value to their home. In terms of monetary value, industry professionals indicate that the design and features of a home’s outdoor space can add as much as 30 percent to the total value of the property (Designing Out: The Home Lifestyle Report).

Lifestyle factors are also driving consumer demand for outdoor living spaces, with 50 percent of survey respondents saying they are spending more time at home than they were five years ago. Survey respondents also said that relaxation and the desire to spend more time outside were the primary drivers for an outdoor room, with entertaining coming in a surprising last among the top five reasons cited.

“By definition, an outdoor room is simply an outdoor area that homeowners can use for relaxing, cooking and entertaining,” said Katherine Whiteside, best-selling garden and cookbook author.  “By adding some furniture and propane appliances to an existing patio, garden or deck, you have the beginnings of a great outdoor room.”

Outdoor rooms were greatest in popularity in the Northeast, with 43 percent of survey respondents noting they had an outdoor room, followed by the West and Midwest regions (34 percent) and Southern regions of the country (32 percent).  Further, homeowners age 45 and above (42 percent) were far more likely to have an outdoor room than their younger counterparts (24 percent).

The industry’s top-selling appliances in the outdoor living category mirror the preferences of survey respondents.  After outdoor lighting (94 percent), other propane appliances dominate the list of must-have accessories: 86 percent of those surveyed said gas grills and mosquito eliminators were a necessity, followed by outdoor fireplaces (67 percent) and patio heaters (53 percent). 

Record numbers of homeowners are seeking to increase the value of their homes through improvements funded by mortgage refinancing and home-equity loans, now at a 15-year high.  When considering remodeling projects they are likely to do in the next 12 to 24 months, homeowners say they are most likely to remodel a kitchen or design an outdoor room. In both cases, propane can be used to extend the benefits of gas appliances to homes located beyond the natural gas main.  Given a limited budget, priority projects for homeowners were as follows: 53 percent of those surveyed said they would focus on the kitchen, 51 percent would plan to design and furnish an outdoor room and 48 percent would design and furnish a family or living room.

About the Survey
Knowledge Networks conducted a web-based survey for the Propane Education & Research Council in April 2005.  A nationally representative sample of 1,010 homeowners participated in the survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

For additional information about outdoor rooms and appliance options, please visit Images available upon request.