The U.S. remodeling industry appears to be pulling out of its downturn, and a renewal of the nation's housing stock is under way, according to a new report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.
The new report, titled ‘The U.S. Housing Stock: Ready for Renewal,’ points to shifting demographics as driving the market demand for home improvements.
‘As baby boomers move into retirement, they are increasing demand for aging-in-place retrofits,’ says Kermit Baker, director of Harvard's Remodeling Futures Program. ‘A decade ago, homeowners over 55 accounted for less than one third of all home improvement spending. By 2011, this share had already grown to over 45 percent. And generations behind the baby boomers will help fuel future spending growth since echo boomers are projected to outnumber baby boomers by more than 12 million as they begin to enter their peak remodeling years over the next decade.’
Additionally, the surge in distressed properties coming back onto the market is contributing to an increase in U.S. remodeling spending.
‘After limited spending during the housing bust, renovating the more than 1 million distressed properties that were sold in 2011 contributed nearly $10 billion to home improvement spending,’ says Eric S. Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. ‘With about three million more foreclosures and short sales in the pipeline, there is even more such spending ahead of us.’
The new report is now available online.