April 18, 2018

HOME REMODELING EXPECTED TO REMAIN STRONG AND STEADY INTO 2019

Cambridge, MA – The robust pace of spending on home renovations and repairs is expected to stay strong over the coming quarters, 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 growth in homeowner remodeling expenditure will remain above 7 percent throughout the year and into the first quarter of 2019.

“Strengthening employment conditions and rising home values are encouraging homeowners to make greater investments in their homes,” says Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “Upward trends in retail sales of building materials and the growing number of remodeling permits indicate that homeowners are doing more—and larger—improvement projects.”

“While the overall outlook is positive, one area of concern is the slowing growth in sales of existing homes, since sales traditionally trigger significant renovation spending by both sellers and buyers,” says Abbe Will, Associate Project Director in the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center. “Even with this headwind, annual spending on residential improvements and repairs by homeowners is set to exceed $340 billion by early next year.”

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 July 19, 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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