Wednesday, November 30, 2011

REMODELING: Remodeling Activity Reaches Record High

Many of today’s homeowners find themselves unable or unwilling to enter the housing market. Some may have unsteady jobs or are upside down in their home loans.

These conditions, however, don’t mean that these homeowners don’t have needs that need met. Some have outgrown their current home, have repairs that need made, or simply would love to have an updated kitchen or bath.

This explains the recent report from BuildFax that shows remodeling activity reached a record level high for the month of September.

Partly to thank for this rise in projects are the historically low interest rates, now under 4.0 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages. Many homeowners have sought out refinancing, meaning they now have lower monthly payments. This extra money can then be funneled into remodeling projects.

So, while it may not make sense for a homeowner to move, they can still make modifications to their current home which will make it more livable and comfortable. These projects even raise the home’s value. "Mortgage rates continue to be near record lows, and as homeowners from coast to coast refinance, they are continuing to update their current home and invest in their properties," said Joe Emison, Vice President of Research and Development at BuildFax. "The data from BuildFax show that homeowners are not only doing important 'maintenance' projects, such as fixing their roof, but also taking on projects that add to the ‘livability’ of their homes by adding decks, remodeling their bathrooms and updating their kitchens. These are immediate fixes they will enjoy and that potential buyers look for."

The most popular projects come as no surprise. They are as follows.

Roof (21.4%)
Deck (7.9%)

Bathroom (6.9%)
Garage (6.1%)
Kitchen (4.8%)
Basement (2.9%)
Office (1.7%)
Sunroom (0.7%)
How much did the remodeling market improve in September? The latest Residential BuildFax Remodeling Index shows rates rose 34 percent year-over-year. September was up 2 percent over August of this year.

Regionally, the West rose 4.6 percent. The Midwest rose 4.9 percent month over month, the Northeast 2.9 percent, and the South rose 9 percent.

Interest rates are expected to remain low until 2013, according to the Federal Reserve, meaning this trend for fixing up and staying put could continue for the foreseeable future.

Carla Hill November 17, 2011

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