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Harvard: Home remodeling will slow down significantly by year’s end

After a strong run, home improvement activity to return to average

Home improvement and repair activity is going to slow considerably by the end of 2019, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

The center tracks the movement of this market through its Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity, or LIRA, index.

The latest LIRA report released Thursday projected that spending on renovations and repairs will shrink from 2018’s 7.5% to 5.1% in 2019.

“Slowing house price appreciation, flat home sales activity, and rising mortgage interest rates are deflating owners’ interest in making major investments in home improvements this year,” said Chris Herbert, managing director at the center. “Continued slowdowns in homebuilding, sales of building materials, and remodeling permits all point to a more challenging environment for home remodeling in 2019.”

Still, improvement and repair spending will be considerable, with the year expected to see homeowners shell out $350 billion to update their homes. It just won’t be above average.

“After several years of stronger-than-average increases, the pace of growth in remodeling activity is expected to fall back to the market’s historical average annual gain of 5.2%,” said Associate Project Director Abbe Will.

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