Home remodeling on hold

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Owner expenditures for home renovations and repairs are expected to decline at least through the first quarter of next year due to fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity from the Remodeling Futures Program at Harvard University.

Pre-pandemic, the LIRA pointed to a healthy rebound in home remodeling spending with annual growth of 3.9 percent by the first quarter of 2021, but the latest data incorporating both actual and forecasted impacts of the economic shutdown point to spending declines this year with further worsening into 2021.

“While there is still considerable uncertainty surrounding the near- and longer-term impacts of the pandemic, the best available evidence suggests substantial downturns in key remodeling indicators of new home construction, home sales, and values of existing homes over the coming quarters,” Chris Herbert, managing director of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, said in a statement. “Homeowners who are concerned about losses of income, home equity, and other forms of wealth are anxious about making large investments in improving their homes in this economic environment.”

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