Monday, September 24, 2007

Housing: Soft "repairs, maintenance and improvement markets"

by Bill McBride on 9/24/2007 02:44:00 PM

From The Times: Wolseley's fresh alert on US housing market

Wolseley, the plumbing and heating engineer, which makes half its income in America, gave warning today that revenues of its US building materials business have collapsed by almost 75 per cent.

It has eliminated 3,500 staff and shut 46 branches.
...
Chip Hornsby, the chief executive, said that there were no signs of a turnaround in the residential housing market and that "the repairs, maintenance and improvement market is now beginning to soften".
Real spending on home improvement has held up pretty well so far. If this housing bust is similar to the early '80s or '90s, real home improvement investment will slump 15% to 20%.

Home Improvement InvestmentClick on graph for larger image.
This graph shows real home improvement investment (2000 dollars) since 1959. Recessions are in gray (source: BEA)

Although real spending declined slightly in Q2 2007, home improvement spending has held up pretty well compared to the other components of Residential Investment. With declining MEW, it is very possible that home improvement spending will slump like in the early '80s and '90s.