Strong growth in remodeling likely

This graphic was included in the Joint Center’s press release.
This graphic was included in the Joint Center’s press release.

The home remodeling market should have strong growth in the first half of 2014, but that growth may start to “ebb a bit” around midyear, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University said Thursday.

The center uses a metric called the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity, or LIRA, to make projections about national homeowner spending on improvements for the current quarter and on the subsequent three quarters.

“The ongoing growth that we’ve seen in home prices, housing starts, and existing home sales is also being reflected in home improvement activity,” Eric S. Belsky, the center’s managing director, said in a statement.  “As owners gain more confidence in the housing market, they are likely to undertake home improvements that they have deferred.”

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The center’s press release also included a statement from Kermit Baker, director of the center’s Remodeling Futures Program.

“However, the strong growth for this cycle may start to ebb a bit beginning around midyear,” Baker said. “By that time, we’ll be approaching the pre-recessionary levels of spending, and with borrowing costs starting to creep back up, growth rates are likely to slow some.”