The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimates that Americans spent $210 billion in 2005 on residential remodeling and will spend a record $238 billion on it this year. If this prediction comes to fruition, this 13.2% jump would be the largest gain in 10 years.

This is good news for local contractors, says Vince Butler, chair of NAHB's Remodelors Council. “The $200 billion remodeling industry is almost exclusively small businesses that operate in local communities,” he says. “And we can now confirm that money spent on remodeling stays local.”

Indeed, NAHB's economics department studies show that for every $100,000 spent on additions and alterations, the local community receives $54,200 in income — $4,900 in taxes and other government revenue and 1.01 full-time local jobs.

According to NAHB, the South accounts for 31% of all remodeling expenditures, though the highest per-household spending occurs in the Northeast at $2,185. The residential remodeling market accounts for approximately 40% of all home construction.