Remodeling reaches record levels

Residential remodeling activity hit a record high in August 2011, rising 29% in year-over-year comparisons, according to an index compiled by BuildFax, a national database of building permit data. It was the 22nd consecutive month of increases and the highest level of remodeling activity since the index was introduced in 2004.

BuildFax also released data showing, based on its national footprint of permit data, an estimate of more than 3.3 million residential remodeling projects will be permitted in 2011. This figure is up from the estimated 3.1 million residential remodeling projects that were permitted in 2010, an almost 9.5% increase.

"As mortgage rates hit record lows, it is apparent that millions of Americans are refinancing their homes and using some of their new monthly savings to reinvest in their homes with remodeling projects," said Joe Emison, VP research and development at BuildFax. "With remodeling activity growing at an estimated 9.5% in 2011 compared with 2010, this is one segment of the economy that is showing continued strength, even as other sectors struggle." 

The Residential BuildFax Remodeling Index (BFRI) rose in most regions of the country in August 2011. The West showed a 9.3% rise in remodeling activity, and the Midwest rose 10.8%. In the South, gains registered a 1% month-over-month rise. Only the Northeast saw a decline (8%).

In year-over year comparisons, remodeling activity declined in the Northeast by 3.9%, while the South was up 8.2% as was the West (33.6%) and Midwest (11%).

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

Emison will be speaking at the ProDealer Industry Summit on Oct. 27 in San Antonio. 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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