Remodeling activity starts the year at a slower pace

The low supply of homes for sale has had many homeowners choosing to stay in place and remodel instead of moving. That could be changing. According to the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), the Remodeling Market Index (RMI) fell three points to 54 in the fi rst quarter of 2019. Even with the drop the index is still over the break-even score of 50 which means remodelers are still reporting that activity that is above average. NAHB’s RMI has been above 50 since the second quarter of 2013.

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NAHB is also reporting a decrease in remodeling spending, which fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $173 billion in March, down by 3.1% over February estimate, and was 14.1% lower than a year ago.

Minnesota remodelers have seen some of the same trends. Kelly Davert of the Plymouth-based kitchen and bath showroom Mingle reported that while they are seeing an increase in the number of projects, they are also seeing more customers cut down on their spending.

“We are busy and we are still seeing whole neighborhoods that are remodeling all at the same time,” said Davert. “People are defi nitely more concerned about costs and budget than they were just a year ago.” NAHB predicts the remodeling market will continue to grow in 2019, but at a more modest pace than previously. According to the Census Bureau, 30% of remodeling activity was major additions and alterations, 40% minor additions and alterations, and 30% maintenance and repair.