After more than a decade of continuous growth, annual spending on improvements and repairs to owner-occupied homes is expected to decline by early next year, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released today by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The LIRA projects that year-over-year expenditures for homeowner improvements and maintenance will post a modest decline of 2.8 percent through the first quarter of 2024.
“Higher interest rates and sharp downturns in homebuilding and existing home sales are driving our projections for sluggish remodeling activity next year,” says Carlos Martín, project director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Center. “With ongoing uncertainty in financial markets and the threat of a recession, homeowners are increasingly likely to pare back or delay projects beyond necessary replacements and repairs.”
“Homeowner improvement and maintenance spending is expected to top out at $458 billion in the coming year, compared with market spending of $471 billion over the past four quarters,” says Abbe Will, associate project director of the Remodeling Futures Program. “However, strong and steady growth in the number of homes permitted for remodeling projects, as well as a slew of federal incentives for energy-efficiency retrofits may yet buoy remodeling expenditure from steeper declines.”
The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) provides a short-term outlook of national home improvement and repair spending to owner-occupied homes. The indicator, measured as an annual rate-of-change of its components, is designed to project the annual rate of change in spending for the current quarter and subsequent four quarters, and is intended to help identify future turning points in the business cycle of the home improvement and repair industry. Originally developed in 2007, the LIRA was re-benchmarked in April 2016 to a broader market measure based on the biennial American Housing Survey.
The LIRA is released by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University in the third week after each quarter’s closing. The next LIRA release date is July 20, 2023.