October 19, 2017

Growing Momentum Expected for Remodeling Spending

CAMBRIDGE, MA – Accelerating growth in residential improvement and repair expenditures is anticipated through the third quarter 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 gains in home renovation and repair spending will increase from 6.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 7.7 percent by the third quarter of next year.

“Recent strengthening of the US economy, tight for-sale housing inventories, and healthy home equity gains are all working to boost home improvement activity,” says Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “Over the coming year, owners are projected to spend in excess of $330 billion on home upgrades and replacements, as well as routine maintenance.”

“And while it’s too early for our LIRA model to capture the effects of recent hurricanes and other natural disasters experienced around the country, there is certainly potential for even stronger growth in remodeling next year as major reconstruction and repairs get underway in affected regions,” says Abbe Will, Research Associate in the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center.

Click to view/save LIRA graphic
More information about the LIRA (FAQ, etc.) 
Click to view historical LIRA data and calculation methodology

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 January 18, 2018.

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.

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies advances understanding of housing issues and informs policy. Through its research, education, and public outreach programs, the center helps leaders in government, business, and the civic sectors make decisions that effectively address the needs of cities and communities. Through graduate and executive courses, as well as fellowships and internship opportunities, the Joint Center also trains and inspires the next generation of housing leaders.

Contact: Kerry Donahue, (617) 495-7640, kerry_donahue@harvard.edu

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