CAMBRIDGE, MA — After three years of decline, substantive growth in remodeling spending is expected in 2011, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) recently released by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Even though spending is still below its 2007 peak, the LIRA indicates that homeowner improvement spending is expected to be up at a double-digit pace at an annual rate through the first half of 2011.

“The downturn in home improvement activity has pushed spending below its long-term trend,” said Eric Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “A recovering economy should stabilize house prices and consumer confidence levels, encouraging homeowners to reinvest in their homes and undertake deferred repairs and replacements.”

“Remodeling contactors are feeling much more positive about the outlook for home improvement projects,” added Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “Low financing costs and a wave of previously foreclosed homes coming back on the market and in need of renovation are expected to generate healthy growth over the next several quarters.”

The LIRA, published quarterly, is designed to estimate homeowner spending on improvements and provides a short-term outlook of homeowner remodeling activity. The next LIRA release date is Jan. 13, 2011.

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