Quick rebound not expected for remodeling market

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A collapsing economy, combined with further deterioration of the housing market, continues to suppress remodeling activity, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) points to homeowner improvement spending declining at an annual rate of 12.1 percent by the third quarter of 2009.

“Uncertainty in the housing market continues to stifle spending on homeowner improvements,” explains Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies, in a Jan. 22 press release. “In light of escalating job losses, consumers are reluctant to undertake major remodeling projects.”

The market has seen steady declines since the middle of 2007, although recently the rate of decline has flattened.

“While we may be nearing the bottom of the remodeling cycle, there is little to push spending back into a growth phase until the economy recovers,” notes Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center.

For information, visit www.jchs.harvard.edu.

— Brian Caldwell

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