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Remodeling Activity Slows Under Economic Uncertainty, Lending Requirements

August 4, 2011
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“While the RMI indicates that the home remodeling market softened somewhat in the second quarter, this is still the second highest RMI we’ve been able to report since the third quarter of 2007,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

The remodeling market slipped under pressure from a sluggish economy, according to the National Association of Home Builders' Remodeling Market Index, which dipped during the second quarter to 43.9 from the first quarter result of 46.5. An RMI below 50 indicates that more remodelers report market activity is lower compared to the prior quarter than report it is higher.

The overall RMI combines ratings of current remodeling activity with indicators of future activity, like calls for bids. Current market conditions for the second quarter of 2011 fell to 44.8 from 46.1 in the first quarter. Future market indications dropped to 43.0 from 46.8 in the previous quarter.

“While the RMI indicates that the home remodeling market softened somewhat in the second quarter, this is still the second highest RMI we’ve been able to report since the third quarter of 2007,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “There are several barriers blocking the way to a stronger recovery. Homeowners who may want to remodel still face stringent lending requirements, and uncertainty about the economy is making them hesitant to undertake major improvements.”  

Regionally, current market conditions shrank in two areas: the Midwest to 44.4 (from 47.1 in the first quarter) and the South to 42.9 (from 46.1). The West at 48.2 (from 46.1) and Northeast at 48.1 (from 46.1) both climbed modestly.

Two indicators of current market conditions dropped: major additions to 46.2 (from 50.3 in the first quarter) and maintenance and repair to 38.4 (from 39.5). A third indicator, minor additions, remained essentially flat at 48.5 (from 48.0). Future market indicators also descended: calls for bids to 49.8 (from 53.1), backlog of remodeling jobs to 45.7 (from 49.7), and appointments for proposals to 44.2 (from 52.4). The amount of work committed for the next three months stayed level at 32.3 (from 32.1).

For more information about remodeling, visit www.nahb.org/remodel.

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