Americans Choose Remodeling over Moving, Report Shows

For millions of Americans, the economy of recent years has forced a hold on the dream of moving to a larger house, relocating to a different area or building a new home.  Some homeowners have been unable to sell their current property.  Others have been unable to secure a new mortgage due to tighter regulations.  As a result, many homeowners have sought to remodel their current properties – either to suit their own changing needs, or to attract the buyer and price they want.

Ever wonder what your fellow countrymen and women and doing to their homes?  It used to be that residential remodeling activity was reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, but the Census discontinued that survey at the end of 2007.  To fill the gap left by the Census, BuildFax, a division of BUILDERadius, has created the BuildFax Residential Remodeling Index (BFRRI), the only source directly reporting residential remodeling activity across the nation.Alt=americans remodeling vs. moving

The information in the BFRRI is derived from related building permit activity filed with 4,000+ cities and counties throughout the country.  Local building departments inspect construction to make sure it meets quality and safety standards; BuildFax is then able to consolidate this information into a central database, which is a tremendous asset to buyers and sellers of property.

The BFRRI reports trends in remodeling activity for the entire United States, as well as for the four major regions of the country: Northeast, South, Midwest and West. Updates to the index will be released in the middle of each month, on the day preceding the Census’s release of new housing starts.

The very first BFRRI, released on January 18, 2011, indicated that remodeling activity has returned to pre-recession levels. Combined with the depressed number of new housing starts, a significant increase in remodeling activity may indicate a more substantial shift toward reinvesting in existing homes over building new ones.

On a regional basis, the South and the Northeast continue to lag behind the Midwest and West.  According to the BFRRI:

  • The Northeast was down 1.7 points (2%) month-over-month and down 4.9 points (6%) year-over-year. 
  • The South was down 4.0 points (5%) month-over-month but up 6.5 points (8%) year-over-year.
  • The Midwest was down 3.0 points (3%) month-over-month but up 3.9 points (4%) year-over-year.
  • The West was down 1.1 points (1%) month-over-month but up 4.6 points (5%) year-over-year.

Find out how to continue snooping on national and regional remodeling stats at BuildFax.