Remodeling activity slows

WASHINGTON - The remodeling market slipped under pressure from a sluggish economy according to the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI), 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.

"Remodelers have experienced the same hiccup that has rippled through the U.S. economy," said NAHB Remodelers Chairman Bob Peterson, CGR, CAPS, CGP, a remodeler from Ft. Collins, Colo. "After picking up the pace early in the year, the calls from customers dropped off and remodeling slowed down."

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).

"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. Home owners who may want to remodel still face stringent lending requirements, and uncertainty about the economy is making them hesitant to undertake major improvements."

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ABOUT THE RMI: The RMI is based on a quarterly survey of professional remodelers, whose answers to a series of questions were assigned numerical values to calculate two separate indexes. The first index gauges current market conditions and is based on remodelers' reports of major and minor additions and alterations, plus maintenance work and repairs, on both owner- and renter-occupied dwellings. The second index summarizes indicators of future remodeling activity and is based on remodelers' responses to questions about calls for bids, amount of work committed for next three months, job backlogs and appointments for proposals.

ABOUT NAHB REMODELERS: NAHB Remodelers is America's home for professional remodelers, representing the more than 14,000 remodeling industry members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Founded in 1982, the organization provides information, education and designation programs to improve the business and construction expertise of its members and to enhance the professional image of the industry. Its membership incorporates 148 local councils in 45 states.

ABOUT NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 160,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. NAHB is affiliated with 800 state and local home builders associations around the country. NAHB's builder members will construct about 80 percent of the new housing units projected for this year.

SOURCE: National Assn. of Home Builders

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