The weak economy and uncertainty in housing markets remain key hurdles for remodeling activity according to Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) points to homeowner improvement spending declining at an annual rate of 12% by the second quarter of 2009.
"Falling home prices and job losses contribute to reduced spending on homeowner improvements," explains Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. "Any remodeling rebound must be accompanied by stability in the housing market."
"There are a few hopeful signs that we may be nearing a cyclical low point for home improvement activity," notes Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program of the Joint Center. "Existing home sales appear to be stabilizing and interest rates for financing home improvements are favorable.