Home Renovations Helping To Prop Up Builders In Weak Housing Market
The home building industry in the U.S. continues to limp along, according to the latest government numbers. The Census Bureau has reported new home construction across the country was up last month about 10% over March 2011, but was still nearly 6% below February's figures. However one particular area does seem to be improving - home renovations. A number of area builders are reporting an increasing number of homeowners, unable or unwilling to sell their current property in a down market, are opting to invest in renovation projects instead. And that's good news for builders according to Joanne Carroll, a member of the National Homebuilders Association and publisher of the Connecticut Builders Magazine.
“Remodeling (has) certainly been the go-to market for builders to survive in the last number of years.”
Carroll says builders of new homes have been forced to diversify to contend with the scarcity of housing permits, which fell to a record low in Connecticut last year. She says projects adding more outdoor living space have become very popular.
“A lot of the renovations are adding decks, adding outdoor rooms, you know, maybe a screen porch or sunroom. Kitchens and baths have always been huge areas for remodeling as well.”
Brad Campbell, executive director of the Homebuilders and Remodelers of Western Massachusetts, says exact numbers are hard to come by but remodeling activity is also up in the Baystate, although he notes that could be due to the storms of last year. Both Campbell and Carroll say they expect new home construction to rebound in a major way soon because of increased consumer confidence, pent-up demand and extremely low rental vacancy rates and housing permits.