The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University released its latest Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity at the International Builders' Show in January, and the outlook is not good.
The LIRA points to homeowner improvement spending declining at an annual rate of 12.1 percent by the third quarter of 2009. Although Kermit Baker, Harvard's director of the Remodeling Futures Program of the Joint Center, said we may be nearing the bottom of the decline in remodeling activity, he admits that all bets are off if the national economy doesn't start to recover fairly soon.
If the economy begins to recover sometime in the near future, Baker said it's likely that 2010 will mark the beginning of a rebound in remodeling activity on a national scale.
What that means to you in your local market may be a different story, however. That's one of the reasons we have begun to publish a new monthly department called The Market. Each month we will provide the most up-to-date market intelligence available on a major U.S. metro market. Last month, in honor of President Barack Obama's historic inauguration, we debuted The Market in Washington, D.C., which is down but stronger than many. This month, we've moved on to Houston, where the economy is about as robust as it gets compared to most major metros.
With sources such as the National Association of Realtors, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau — put in perspective by our Market Leaders (one of the Top 5 volume remodelers in that metro) — you won't find a better source of market data to help you run your business successfully during these difficult times. That is, unless you have a crystal ball.
Contact me at michael.morris@ reedbusiness.com or 630/288-8057.