The March BuildFax Remodeling Index, which is based on building permit data, increased for the seventeenth straight month on a year-over-year basis as the residential remodeling industry continued to strengthen and more homeowners opted to stay where they are and remodel rather than move.
The index rose 14 percent year-over-year - and for the seventeenth straight month - to 98.0, the highest March number in the index aside from March 2006. Residential remodels in March were up month-over-month 2.9 points (3 percent) from the February value of 95.1, and up year-over-year 12.0 points from the March 2010 value of 86.0.
All regions except the Midwest posted year-over-year and month-over-month gains. The West posted the largest gains, up 18.5 points (22 percent) year-over-year and up 5.4 points (6 pecent) month-over-month. The Midwest saw significant drops, down 15.3 points (20 percent) year-over-year and 3.3 points (5 percent) month-over-month, perhaps due to a colder winter. The Northeast gained 2.7 points (4 percent) year-over-year and 4.5 points (8 percent) month-over-month, and the South improved 7.8 points (10 percent) year-over-year and 7 points (9 percent) month-over-month.
“The winter of 2010/2011 was one of the worst on record. The economy is continuing to struggle and gas prices have soared, however, consumers in March still continued spending on renovations and home improvements as they drove the remodeling industry to yet another month of solid gains compared to a year ago,” said Joe Emison, Vice President of Research and Development at BuildFax. “Significant improvements in the West continue to drive activity nationally to the best year in remodeling since 2006. Even though the Midwest saw a drop this winter, early data shows that remodeling in all regions will continue to prove out the economic recovery in 2011.”
BuildFax has created a proprietary property intelligence engine that contains building and permitting information from 4,000+ cities and counties throughout the country. The BuildFax database currently covers over 60 percent of the U.S. commercial and residential building stock with 6 billion data points.