Monday, July 18, 2011

Residential Remodeling Index at new high in May

by Bill McBride on 7/18/2011 08:12:00 AM

The BuildFax Residential Remodeling Index was at 124.3 in May, up from 109.7 in April. This is based on the number of properties pulling residential construction permits in a given month.

From BuildFax:

The Residential BuildFax Remodeling Index rose 22% year-over-year--and for the nineteenth straight month--in May to 124.3, the highest number in the index to date. Residential remodels in May were up month-over-month 14.6 points (13%) from the April value of 109.7, and up year-over-year 22.1 points from the May 2010 value of 102.2.
...
All regions were up month-over-month, with the Northeast up 9.8 points (12%), the South up 7.3 points (7%), the Midwest up 16.3 points (18%), and the West up 8.7 points (7%).
...
"Through the first five months of 2011 we have seen impressive gains within the remodeling index and May has continued that trend with a record setting month," said Joe Emison, Vice President of Research and Development at BuildFax. "Even with the continued struggles in the economy, the remodeling industry has been a bright spot, as consumers look to make upgrades to their current homes, rather than purchasing a new residence.”
Residential Remodeling Index Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

This is the highest level for the index (started in 2004) - even above the levels from 2004 through 2006 during the home equity ("home ATM") withdrawal boom.

Note: permits are not adjusted by value, so this doesn't mean there is more money being spent, just more permit activity. Also some smaller remodeling projects are done without permits and the index will miss that activity.

Residential Remodeling Index YoYSince there is a strong seasonal pattern for remodeling, the second graph shows the year-over-year change from the same month of the previous year.

The remodeling index is up 22% from May 2010.

Even though new home construction is still moving sideways, it appears that two other components of residential investment will increase in 2011: multi-family construction and home improvement.

Data Source: BuildFax, Courtesy of Index.BuildFax.com

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