(ARA) - Does the thought of rising real estate costs scare you? Are you comfortable in your neighborhood and dread the thought and stress of moving? Do you love your home but need to upgrade? If so, you are in the same situation as a lot of other Americans who are choosing to stay in their current homes and 'improve rather than move!'

'Home values have appreciated so much in many parts of the country in recent years that to buy another home would cost too much. So a lot of people are choosing to stay put and use the equity in their homes to remodel instead,' says Joan Stephens, president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).

The agency is anticipating a big boom in home remodeling projects and with the increasing popularity of home spas, the bathroom is expected to be one of the most popular places to start.

Bathrooms built in the 1970s and 80s were so small, there's barely enough room in them for a shower and toilet, much less a luxurious bath; so these days, people are taking space away from their master bedrooms to make the bathroom bigger.

The NARI estimated that 4.9 million baths were remodeled in the United States in 2005; and that homeowners spent an average of $10,088 to update an existing 5-by-9-foot bathroom.

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