Residential remodeling activity in March 2011 rose 14% in year-over-year comparisons, according to an index compiled by BuildFax, which uses a national database of building permit data. All regions of the country showed gains with the exception of the Midwest, which posted a decline in remodels.
The same trend held true in year-over-year comparisons. The BuildFax Remodeling Index (BFRI) for March 2011 registered 17 straight months of year-over-year gains.
The West posted the largest gains, up 18.5 points (22%) year-over-year and up 5.4 points (6%) month-over-month. The Northeast gained 2.7 points (4%) year-over-year and 4.5 points (8%) month-over-month, and the South improved 7.8 points (10%) year-over-year and 7 points (9%) month-over-month. The Midwest, however, saw significant drops, down 15.3 points (20%) year-over-year and 3.3 points (5%) month-over-month.
“The winter of 2010/2011 was one of the worst on record,” said Joe Emison, VP research and development at BuildFax. “The economy is continuing to struggle, and gas prices have soared. However, consumers in March still continued spending on renovations and home improvements as they drove the remodeling industry to yet another month of solid gains compared with a year ago. Significant improvements in the West continue to drive activity nationally to the best year in remodeling since 2006.”
Based in Austin, Texas, BuildFax derives its remodeling index on monthly building permit activity filed with local building departments across the country.