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Housing Perspectives

Research, trends, and perspective from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies

Momentum Building for Home Improvement Activity

Spending by homeowners on improvement projects is expected to accelerate as the year progresses, according to our latest Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA).  On top of the almost 10% growth reflected in U.S. Census Bureau figures for 2012, the LIRA projects strong gains in homeowner remodeling spending continuing throughout 2013, with some moderation in the pace of growth toward the end of the year.

Existing home sales were up almost 9% last year, and house prices are increasing in most markets across the country. This has increased the home equity levels for most homeowners, encouraging them to reinvest in their homes.

The strong growth that we’ve seen recently is putting pressure on the current capacity of the home improvement industry. Contractors and subcontractors are having more difficulty finding skilled labor, and building materials costs are unusually volatile for this stage of a recovery.

For more information about the LIRA, including how it is calculated, visit the Joint Center website.