February 11, 2014 (Washington, DC) -- The residential remodeling and replacement industry completed its best year since 2008, based on the latest release of the Residential Remodeling Index (RRI) by Metrostudy, a Hanley Wood company. Across multiple metrics produced by Metrostudy, 2013 marked a clear and substantial move towards recovery in the home improvement sector. The seasonally adjusted fourth quarter national composite of the RRI registered a score of 94.6, which was a 1 percent improvement over the third quarter result of 93.4. Year-over-year, the index gained 9%, marking the second consecutive year of gains and representing the largest year-over-year increase in activity since 2005.
The increase quarter-to-quarter was the eighth consecutive improvement after the industry experienced declines in 2011 and bottomed out after peaking in 2007. As housing fundamentals began turning the corner in 2012, remodeling and replacement began to increase.
“2013 turned out to be a banner year for remodeling and replacement due to strong housing market fundamentals, resurging consumer confidence, and pent-up demand,” remarked Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist of Hanley Wood and the architect of the residential remodeling index. “We are forecasting the market to continue to show gains over the next several years. I am confident that the total level of remodeling and replacement activity will be fully recovered nationally by the end of 2015, and we have a chance at reaching that milestone in 2014 if the economy picks up more steam.”
Metrostudy produces the RRI to provide industry visibility into local market remodeling activity, forecasted future activity, and potential demand. According to the company’s fourth quarter report, there were 379 out of 381 Metropolitan Statistical Areas with year-over-year growth in remodeling and replacement projects in 2013, with markets averaging growth of 9% over 2012.
Metrostudy ranks the best markets for remodeling for the year ahead based on market health, level of forecasted future growth, extent of recovery, and potential demand. The current top ten best markets for remodeling in 2014 are Denver, Buffalo, Austin, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Midland, San Francisco, and Houston. The largest remodeling markets based on forecasted projects in 2014 are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Miami, and Boston.
The Residential Remodeling Index is a quarterly measure of the level of remodeling activity in 381 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) in the U.S., with the national composite reflecting the national level of activity. “Activity” includes home improvement and replacement projects, but does not include maintenance or projects of less than $1000. The seasonally adjusted index shows the relative level of activity in the geography specified (MSA or national composite) compared to 2007 (the baseline year). A number above 100 indicates a level of remodeling activity higher than the level of activity at the beginning of 2007, which was the peak of remodeling activity in the prior decade.
The index is produced through a statistical model that leverages detailed data on remodeling activity, including household level remodeling permits, and consumer-reported remodeling and replacement projects. Quarterly historical results for the national composite and for each of the 381 Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the U.S. are available back to 2004. In addition, Metrostudy also produces annual estimates of project counts and expenditures as well as forecasts of the quarterly RRI and annual projects and expenditures.