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Remodeling gains expected to continue into 2014

This just in from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard: A strengthening housing market has been good for home improvement spending.

It’s not rocket science. And the Joint Centers’ Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) expects remodeling growth to continue for the foreseeable future. 

“Homeowners are more comfortable investing in their homes right now,” said Eric S. Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center. “Consumer confidence scores are back to pre-recession levels, and since recent home buyers are traditionally the most active in the home improvement market, the growth in sales of existing homes is providing more opportunities for these improvement projects.” 

General strengthening in the housing market over the past 18 months is translating into increased spending on home improvements, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA). The four-quarter moving rate of change for remodeling activity measured 4.5% in the first quarter of 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. LIRA projections are for an 8.6% increase in the rate of change in the second quarter, and then growth rising into the high teens in the near future. 

Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center, offered caution along with the growth projections.

“With housing starts leveling off in the second quarter and financing costs beginning to edge up, we may be seeing the beginning of more measured growth in the residential markets,” he said. “Given normal timing patterns, this suggests that the pace of growth for home improvement spending should begin to moderate as we move into 2014.”


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