Study Shows Steady Gains in Remodeling Activity Moving into 2018

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Healthy and stable growth in home improvement and repair spending is anticipated for the remainder of the year and into the first half of 2018, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released today by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The LIRA projects that annual increases in remodeling expenditures will soften somewhat moving forward, but still remain at or above 6.0% through the second quarter of 2018.

“The remodeling market continues to benefit from a stronger housing market and, in particular, solid gains in house prices, which are encouraging owners to make larger investments in their homes,” says Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “Yet, weak gains in home sales activity due to tight inventories in many parts of the country is constraining opportunities for more robust remodeling growth given that significant investments often occur around the time of a sale.”

“Even with some easing this year, the remodeling market is expected to grow above its long-term average,” says Abbe Will, Research Associate in the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center. “Over the coming 12 months, national spending on improvements and repairs to the owner-occupied housing stock is projected to reach fully $324 billion.”

The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) provides a short-term outlook of national home improvement and repair spending to owner-occupied homes. The indicator, measured as an annual rate-of-change of its components, is designed to project the annual rate of change in spending for the current quarter and subsequent four quarters, and is intended to help identify future turning points in the business cycle of the home improvement and repair industry. Originally developed in 2007, the LIRA was re-benchmarked in April 2016 to a broader market measure based on the biennial American Housing Survey.

The LIRA is released by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University in the third week after each quarter’s closing.The next LIRA release date is October 19, 2017.

The Remodeling Futures Program, initiated by the Joint Center for Housing Studies in 1995, is a comprehensive study of the factors influencing the growth and changing characteristics of housing renovation and repair activity in the United States. The Program seeks to produce a better understanding of the home improvement industry and its relationship to the broader residential construction industry.

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