Remodeling continues to soar

Residential remodeling activity hit a new high in July 2011, rising 24% in year-over-year comparisons, according to an index compiled by BuildFax, a national database of building permit data. It was the 21st  straight month of increases and the highest level of remodeling activity since the index was introduced in 2004.

Most regions of the country reported gains in July. The West showed a 3% increase, while remodeling activity in the Midwest grew 5% in month-over-month gains. In the South, gains registered 3%, while the Northeast saw a 3.4% decline. On a positive note, the Northeast was up half a point (.7%) from July of 2010, as was the West (26%), the South (7%), and the Midwest (5.6%). 

There has been an upswing in the sales of building materials and the number of renovations greater than $10,000, according to BuildFax, indicating that homeowners are staying put rather than move to new homes in these uncertain times. 

"As millions of Americans believe that they will not be able to secure a new home due to a variety of factors including tight credit, limited buyers and challenging job prospects, they are more and more turning to renovating and remodeling their current properties, sending remodeling activity to record levels," said Joe Emison, VP of research and development at BuildFax. "However, this remodeling boom is leaving many of these properties under-insured, as the value of these renovations are often not being captured by the homeowners’ insurance companies."

Based in Austin, Texas, BuildFAX derives its remodeling index on monthly building permit activity filed with local building departments across the country.

Joe Emison will be speaking at the ProDealer Industry Summit on Oct. 27 in San Antonio, Texas. His topic will be “The demise of the ROI remodel and the rise of the “comfort” remodel.” For more information, visit 


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