U.S. Home Remodeling Index Up in April, Highest Since Index Began Tracking Data in 2004

Residential News » Residential Real Estate Edition | By Michael Gerrity | June 15, 2011 8:33 AM ET

According to BuildFax Remodeling Index (BFRI) for April 2011, many homeowners across the country are remodeling and renovating their homes.

Today's report reveals continued year-over-year gains, with data demonstrating that consumers are continuing to invest in remodeling, even while the economy continues to struggle and the real-estate market continues to experience sales decreases coast to coast.  In addition, the Index reveals that there were 10 percent more remodels in April 2011 compared to April 2004, the first month tracked by the Index.

The latest BFRI index, detailing remodeling activity from April 2011, indicates that residential remodeling activity registered the eighteenth-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 April 2011 index rose 15% year-over-year--and for the eighteenth straight month--in April to 109.7, the highest April number in the index to date.

"April traditionally sets a baseline for the rest of the year in residential remodeling activity, and April 2011 is the best we've seen since the beginning of the index in April 2004," said Joe Emison, Vice President of Research and Development at BuildFax.  "The BFRI is indexed to start at 100 in April 2004 and here we are seven years later, after significant drops in housing value, and the index is almost 110.  That means there were almost 10 percent more residential remodels in April 2011 than in April 2004.  Given the relatively pessimistic economic news that we heard about April, including a slowing recovery, this is a nice surprise for the industry."

In April, all regions posted month-over-month gains, and only the Midwest posted a year-over-year loss.  The West was up 16.8 points (18%) year-over-year and up 5.3 points (5%) month-over-month.  The Midwest was down 16.9 points (19%) year-over-year and up 10.7 points (17%) month-over-month, recovering slightly from a lower-than-average March.  The Northeast was up 3.2 points (5%) year-over-year and 9.1 points (14%) month-over-month, and the South was up 9.6 points (11%) year-over-year and 10 points (12%) month-over-month.

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