Home Renovations Grow for 18 Straight Months

Home remodeling activity has experienced 18 consecutive months of growth, according to homebuilding data provider BuildFax.

The April 2011 BuildFax Remodeling Index showed that there was a 15% year-over-year increase in home renovations nationwide, reaching a record high for the month.

The BFRI contains building and permitting information from 4,000 cities and counties across the country. More than 60% of the U.S.’s commercial and residential buildings are currently in the BFRI database.

“April traditionally sets a baseline for the rest of the year in residential remodeling activity, and April 2011 is the best we’ve seen since the beginning of the index in April 2004,” said Joe Emison, vice president of research and development at BuildFax. “The BFRI is indexed to start at 100 in April 2004 and here we are seven years later, after significant drops in housing value, and the index is almost 110. That means there were almost 10% more residential remodels in April 2011 than in April 2004.”

Despite economic struggles and real estate home prices decreasing throughout the country, Austin, Texas-based BuildFax said the rise in remodeling activity shows that homeowners are right now more interested in renovating their current homes, rather than purchasing new properties.

In April, all regions experienced month-over-month gains. The Midwest had the biggest increase of 17%, with the Northeast next at 14%, then the South at 12% and the West with a 5% monthly improvement.

For year-over-year, the Midwest was the only region that posted a loss over 12 months, down 19%. The West saw 18% growth in home renovations, followed by the South at 11% and the Northeast at 5%.

“Given the relatively pessimistic economic news that we heard about April, including a slowing recovery, this is a nice surprise for the industry,” Emison said.