The home remodeling market continues to improve, with strong gains expected for the remainder of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released today by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.  While the LIRA continues to project annual improvement spending increasing at a double-digit pace in the near term, a slowdown of this growth can be expected by the middle of 2014.

“The soft patch that homebuilding has seen in recent months, coupled with rising financing costs, is expected to be reflected as slower growth in home improvement spending beginning around the middle of next year,” says Eric S. Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center.  “However, even with this projected tapering, remodeling activity should remain at healthy levels.”

“In the near term, homeowner spending on improvements is expected to see its strongest growth since the height of the housing boom,” says Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center.  “Existing home sales are still growing at a double-digit pace, and rising house prices are helping homeowners rebuild equity lost during the housing crash.”

The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) is designed to estimate national homeowner spending on improvements for the current quarter and subsequent three quarters. The indicator, measured as an annual rate-of-change of its components, provides a short-term outlook of homeowner remodeling activity and is intended to help identify future turning points in the business cycle of the home improvement industry. The development of the LIRA is detailed in “Developing a Leading Indicator for the Remodeling Industry” (JCHS Research Note N07-1). In July 2008, the LIRA was re-benchmarked due to changes in the underlying reference series. These changes are explained in “Addendum to Research Note N07-1: Re-Benchmarking the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity” (JCHS Research Note N08-1). The LIRA is released by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University in the third week after each quarter’s closing. The next LIRA release date is Jan. 16, 2014.

The Remodeling Futures Program, initiated by the Joint Center for Housing Studies in 1995, is a comprehensive study of the factors influencing the growth and changing characteristics of housing renovation and repair activity in the United States. The Program seeks to produce a better understanding of the home improvement industry and its relationship to the broader residential construction industry.

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies advances understanding of housing issues and informs policy. Through its research, education, and public outreach programs, the center helps leaders in government, business, and the civic sectors make decisions that effectively address the needs of cities and communities. Through graduate and executive courses, as well as fellowships and internship opportunities, the Joint Center also trains and inspires the next generation of housing leaders.  For more information, please visit www.jchs.harvard.edu.