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Remodeler Confidence Stages a Comeback in Q3, Houzz Renovation Barometer Finds

Nearly all indicators have returned to pre-pandemic levels, but time will tell if they play out


July 16, 2020
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The summer remodeling season may finally be heating up. Remodeler confidence is surging and nearly all business indicators have returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to the Q3 Houzz Renovation Barometer. 

“Despite pandemic-related headwinds, as well as pricing and availability of materials, labor shortages and the current political climate, more businesses in the construction sector and architectural and design services sector report a neutral to good outlook for 2020,” Houzz says. 

Houzz polled over 2,000 home improvement firms from June 27 to July 10 and determined the Expected Business Activity Indicator, Project BAcklog Indicator, and Recent Business Activity Indicator for the construction sector and the architectural and design services sector. The construction sector’s Expected Business Activity Indicator, which is related to project inquiries and new committed projects, soared from 18 in Q1 to 75 in Q3, even higher than Q1’s 74. Architectural and design service professionals were a little more reserved in their projections, but their Expected Business Activity Indicator also jumped from 35 in Q2 to 67 in Q3. 

Though more modest than the increase in confidence, the Project Backlog Indicator and the Recent Business Activity Indicator, which is related to project inquiries and new committed projects, rose for both sectors.

“Confidence has returned to the home renovation and design industry, with many more businesses showing a positive outlook for 2020 than just a few months ago,” Marine Sargsyan, Houzz senior economist, says. “Expectations for business inquiries and new committed projects have completely rebounded, following a sudden decline when the pandemic was declared.”

This surge in confidence isn’t without some evidence: In Q2, there was an increase in new project inquiries, according to Houzz. Sargsyan says this suggests that homeowners are ready to renovate. Likewise, housing professionals have adapted to the new pandemic protocols. They’re becoming more comfortable with virtual showings, online tools, and safety guidelines. 

We’ll have to wait for next quarter’s results to see if the recovery plays out, but as of July 10, when the survey ended, remodelers were feeling better about the future than they have since the pandemic started. But as our columnist Mark Richardson warns, there could be many false positives during the pandemic, and remodelers should proceed with caution, especially with COVID-19 cases spiking in many parts of the country.

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