Home Remodeling on the Upswing - Is it a Good Thing?

Real Estate Agent with The Buyers' Counsel



construction workerThere could be a number of reasons for the recent jump, but according to an article in the Austin Business Journal, home remodeling has risen to its highest level in seven years. 


Figures released indicate an increase of 22% in May from a year ago which marks 19 straight months of gains.  These numbers put home remodeling levels at their highest since Buildfax started tracking these figures in 2004.


This bodes well for construction workers who hitherto fore have been gainfully employed building new homes.  With the decline in housing starts home improvement projects will certainly help to put some of these contractors back to work. 


Joe Emison, vice president of research and development at BuildFax calls it a “bright spot” in an otherwise struggling environment.  His observation is a positive one that home owners are looking to upgrade their current homes rather than purchasing a new one.


NAHB’s Chairman, Bob Nielsen also expressed optimism over the recent increases with hopes that this activity will continue to climb based on the current trend. 


But, what does this say about the economy, in general – and more specifically about the housing market?


Are potential home buyers throwing in the towel on the possibility of selling their homes and trading up as has generally happened in the past?  This may or may not be the only cause for the uptrend in home remodeling.


As we have readily observed over the past few years, home buyers have become extremely particular about the houses they will even consider for purchase.  While there was, at one time, a strong market for low-cost “fixer-uppers” those times have long since passed.  These days, the only people interested in buying a home that needs work are investors who intend to renovate and flip for a profit. 


Today’s home buyer is not necessarily willing to invest in “sweat equity” since there are so many homes on the market right now that are not selling.  Why buy a home that needs work when you can hold out for one that is already in move-in condition?


I was recently asked by friends who are contemplating the sale of their home if I recommended that they sell as-is or make repairs and improvements.  My best advice was to definitely improve their home, within reason.  Buyers are just not considering the homes that need TLC (tender loving care) right now.  They are, and can be, more discerning than that. 


Could this then be a large part of the increase in the home remodeling figures - owners who are considering selling their abodes but are wisely advised to indulge in some remodeling prior to putting it on the market?


This may not be a question of home owners who are fearful and planning on staying put - but rather to renovate, sell and move up. 


We can only hope.



Copyright 2011 "Home Remodeling on the Upswing - Is it a Good Thing?"


This post was written by  

Claudette Millette, Broker, Owner, The Buyers' Counsel - (508) 881-6230 

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Comments (7)

Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

I think this is interesting a it can certainly cut 2 ways.  For those who are staying put, there is less inventory for first time buyers who may continue to rent.  On the other hand, it does apepar that it is helping to get folks back to work.

Aug 16, 2011 03:14 PM
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Renovations and market updates show current owners are paying attention...it's better to keep up your home currnet ,so when your are ready to sell you can compete and you can enjoy the updates while you live there.

Aug 16, 2011 03:50 PM
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Hi there. Hope things are going OK...haven't seen your smile in the blog roll in a long time.

Good info, thanks.


Aug 16, 2011 04:19 PM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I was wondering where you've been the other day.  Emerging from a busy Spring/Summer buying season I would assume.  :)

Aug 17, 2011 04:58 AM
Peter Michelbach

Claudette - thank you for bringing this up and sharing ...made similar observations in my neck of the woods as well...be good...keep smiling from the beauty of your heart. Thanks a bunch for the good info. Best. Peter Michelbach (9 Million Dollar Club) David grace R/E Perth W. Australia

Sep 29, 2011 09:45 PM
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

Claudette, I've finally jumped back in to blogging here at AR and ALSO am one of the people mentoned in my hometown "Austin Business Journal" Yes... we have decided to remodel which is a long story and it looks to be fraught with numerous blogging opportunities too!


Hope you are well my friend!

Dec 02, 2011 02:01 PM
Peter Michelbach

Hi Claudette ~~ I wish you a contented New Year, and a fond farewell to the old; let 2012 be filled with Light, abundance, joy and treasured moments.


Hope you are good, mate! ~~~  Best - Peter 'down under'.

Dec 31, 2011 09:07 PM