Birth of an Index: Residential remodeling

A new real estate index analyzes building permit activity to provide a source of national remodeling data.

The home improvement and home building industry remains a leading cause of statistics. And here's the latest industry metric: the BuildFax Residential Remodeling Index (BFRRI).

Launched by the BuildFax, the Austin, Texas-based provider of building permit data, the BFRRI reports residential remodeling activity across the nation based on building permit activity filed with local building departments.

The BuildFax Residential Remodeling Index rose 11% year-over-year -- and for the thirteenth straight month -- in November to a four-year November high of 103.3, exceeding the November 2009 value of 93.0 by 10.3 points. Residential remodels in November were down month-over-month 2.5 points (2%) from the October value of 105.8.

On a regional basis, the South and the Northeast continue to lag behind the Midwest and West, with the Northeast still in a year-over-year decline, and while the South is up year-over-year, it suffered its fifth straight month of decline in November. The BuildFax Remodeling Index for the Northeast was down 1.7 points (2%) month-over-month and down 4.9 points (6%) year-over-year; the South was down 4.0 points (5%) month-over-month but up 6.5 points (8%) year-over-year; the Midwest was down 3.0 points (3%) month-over-month but up 3.9 points (4%) year-over-year; and the West was down 1.1 points (1%) month-over-month but up 4.6 points (5%) year-over-year.

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