Softening of remodeling market predicted

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After several years of solid acceleration, annual growth in national home improvement and repair spending is expected to soften in 2019, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity from the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

The LIRA projects that year-over-year increases in residential remodeling expenditures will reach a decade high of 7.7 percent this year and then start to drift downward to 6.6 percent through the third quarter of 2019.

“Rising mortgage interest rates and flat home sales activity around much of the country are expected to pinch otherwise very strong growth in homeowner remodeling spending moving forward,” Chris Herbert, the center’s managing director, said in a statement. “Low for-sale inventories are presenting a headwind because home sales tend to spur investments in remodeling and repair both before a sale and in the years following.”

“Even so, many other remodeling market indicators including home prices, permit activity, and retail sales of building materials continue to strengthen and will support above-average gains in spending next year,” added Abbe Will, associate project director in the Remodeling Futures Program. “Through the third quarter of 2019, annual expenditures for residential improvements and repairs by homeowners is still expected to grow to over $350 billion nationally.”

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