Home Remodel Spending Gains Peak But Remain Strong

After several years of solid acceleration, annual growth in the national home improvement and repair spending sector of the economy is expected to soften in 2019, according to the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies.

The center’s ongoing Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity study suggests that year-over-year increases in residential remodeling expenditures will reach a decade high of 7.7% this year and then start to drift downward to 6.6% through the third quarter of 2019.

“Rising mortgage interest rates and flat home sales activity around much of the country are expected to pinch otherwise very strong growth in homeowner remodeling spending moving forward,” said Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “Low for-sale inventories are presenting a headwind because home sales tend to spur investments in remodeling and repair both before a sale and in the years following.”

Still, Abbe Will, associate project director in the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center, added that at least some remodeling market indicators such as home prices, permit activity and retail building material sales “continue to strengthen and will support above-average gains in spending next year. Through the third quarter of 2019, annual expenditures for residential improvements and repairs by homeowners is still expected to grow to over $350 billion nationally.”