More Homeowners Pursue Remodeling Projects. What Gives?
Although the recent stabilization in the real estate market and the economy remains tenuous, American property owners have grown increasingly willing to undertake home remodeling projects. ServiceMagic.com’s most recent Home Remodeling and Repair Index, released last month, shows that remodeling service requests increased by 37 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 from a year earlier. The increase is linked to homeowners’ confidence in their economic well-being, which has improved notably since the fourth quarter of 2008, says ServiceMagic.com CEO Craig Smith. “Real estate values have generally stabilized; stock portfolios and investment portfolios are nowhere near where they were in 2007 but have come back in a big way,” he says. “Consumers and homeowners are generally feeling a bit better about their financial situation.” In a recent interview with U.S. News, Smith discussed the factors behind the renewed interest in home remodeling and offered his perspective on the industry’s outlook.
Some of this activity that seems much higher than you would expect is driven by the fact that people weren’t moving, so they are now starting to put money into improvements. They say, “Hey, with 20 percent of the population underwater on their mortgages, I know I am not moving anytime soon. So I am going to start putting some money into improving the living conditions of where I live now.”