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Remodeling Market to March Higher in 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

The coming year is expected to be another robust one for residential renovations and repairs with growth accelerating as the year progresses, 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 homeowner spending on improvements and repairs will approach $340 billion in 2018, an increase of 7.5% from estimated 2017 spending.

“Steady gains in the broader economy, and in home sales and prices, are supporting growing demand for home improvements,” says Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center. “We expect the remodeling market will also get a boost this year from ongoing restoration efforts in many areas of the country impacted by last year’s record-setting natural disasters.”

“Despite continuing challenges of low for-sale housing inventories and contractor labor availability, 2018 could post the strongest gains for home remodeling in more than a decade,” says Abbe Will, research associate in the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center. “Annual growth rates have not exceeded 6.8% since early 2007, before the Great Recession hit.”

Chart showing the leading indicator of remoodeling activity for the fourth quarter in 2017, chart from LIRA

(Click chart for full size graphic.)

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 April 19, 2018.

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