U.S. Home Remodeling Index Up in March, Seventeenth Consecutive Month

Residential News » Residential Real Estate Edition | By Michael Gerrity | May 16, 2011 10:52 AM ET

According to BuildFax's monthly Remodeling Index (BFRI) for March 2011, there was a continued year-over-year gain. Their data suggests that more people are actively remodeling their homes across the United States, even while the economy continues to struggle and the real-estate industry continues to be challenged.

March Marks a Seventeen Month Trend

The latest BFRI index, detailing remodeling activity from March 2011, indicates that residential remodeling activity registered the seventeenth-straight month of year-over-year gains, demonstrating that many Americans are continuing to remodel their current homes, rather than purchasing new homes.

The BFRI is the only source directly reporting residential remodeling activity across the nation with monthly information derived through related building permit activity filed with local building departments across the country.  This monthly report provides month-over-month and year-over-year comparisons on trends in remodeling activity for the entire United States, as well as for the four major regions of the country: Northeast, South, Midwest, and West.

The West Takes the Lead, While Midwest Sees Significant Drop

The March 2011 index shows that all regions except the Midwest posted year-over-year and month-over-month gains. The West posted the largest gains, up 18.5 points (22%) year-over-year and up 5.4 points (6%) month-over-month. The Midwest saw significant drops, down 15.3 points (20%) year-over-year and 3.3 points (5%) month-over-month, perhaps due to a colder winter.  The Northeast gained 2.7 points (4%) year-over-year and 4.5 points (8%) month-over-month, and the South improved 7.8 points (10%) year-over-year and 7 points (9%) month-over-month

"The winter of 2010/2011 was one of the worst on record.  The economy is continuing to struggle and gas prices have soared, however, consumers in March still continued spending on renovations and home improvements as they drove the remodeling industry to yet another month of solid gains compared to a year ago," said Joe Emison, Vice President of Research and Development at BuildFax.  "Significant improvements in the West continue to drive activity nationally to the best year in remodeling since 2006.  Even though the Midwest saw a drop this winter, early data shows that remodeling in all regions will continue to prove out the economic recovery in 2011."

The Residential BuildFax Remodeling Index in March 2011 rose 14% year-over-year--and for the seventeenth straight month-- to 98.0, the highest March number in the index aside from March 2006. Residential remodels in March were up month-over-month 2.9 points (3%) from the February value of 95.1, and up year-over-year 12.0 points from the March 2010 value of 86.0.

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