Residential remodeling rose 11% in January from a year earlier in a seasonally adjusted measure, according to BuildFax.

Projects grew to roughly 3 million on an annual basis, up 13% from 2.65 million in December.

January’s measure is the highest since June 2006, according to Joe Emison, who oversees the project for BuildFax.

All regions showed growth over January 2011, with only the Northeast on the decline from December.

The South had largest number of projects at 1.12 million, making up more than one-third of U.S. remodeling.

“From a macro perspective, this all looks good,” Emison said. “The Northeast is still well below where it was pre-recession, but all the other regions are basically back.”

Remodeling projects don’t bring in the same amount of money as new home construction, Emison said, as both new home sales and builder confidence remain well below healthy levels. He said remodeling plans typically cost $10,000, while a 2011 National Association of Home Builders survey estimates an average of $184,000 in construction costs on new homes.

BuildFax previously used a non-seasonally adjusted measure and point scale benchmarked at 100 in April 2004. Emison said the new annual reading uses the same adjustment method as the Commerce Department‘s housing starts measurement.

Clients asked the North Carolina data firm to make the measurement more like others in the housing market, Emison said.

“We believe it’s going to be a lot easier to understand what we’re saying,” Emison said.


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