Residential remodeling activity rose 34% in September 2011 in year-over-year comparisons, according to an index compiled by BuildFax, a national database of building permit data. It was the 23rd straight month of increases and the highest level of remodeling activity since the index was introduced in 2004.
BuildFax also released data stating the most popular types of remodeling projects over the past five years, with roof replacements (21.4%) deck additions (7.9%) and bathroom remodels (6.9%) leading the pack.
"Mortgage rates continue to be near record lows, and as homeowners from coast to coast refinance, they are continuing to update their current home and invest in their properties," said Joe Emison, VP research and development at BuildFax. "The data from BuildFax show that homeowners are not only doing important 'maintenance' projects, such as fixing their roof, but also taking on projects that add to the 'livability' of their homes by adding decks, remodeling their bathrooms and updating their kitchens. These are immediate fixes they will enjoy and that potential buyers look for."
Half of the nation saw month-over-month gains this past September in remodeling activity, according to BuildFax data: the West (4.6%) and the Midwest (4.9%) all showed increases, while the Northeast (1.5%) and the South (2.9%) saw a decline. Regions up in year-over-year gains from September 2010 are the West (43.5%), the Midwest (15.9%) and the South ( 9%). Only the Northeast dropped 4.7% in remodeling as measured by permit activity.