The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said remodeling activity remained relatively flat in the first quarter, as the organization’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) edged down one point.
The index dipped to 47 from an upwardly revised 48 in the fourth quarter of 2011, NAHB said. An index below 50 indicates that more remodelers report lower market activity (compared to the prior quarter) than report higher activity.
The RMI component measuring current market conditions dropped one point to 49 in the first quarter, while the component measuring future indicators of remodeling business fell two points to 44.
“We are seeing that the demand for remodeling work has been pulled forward because of a mild winter,” said NAHB Remodelers Chairman George “Geep” Moore Jr., owner/president of Moore-Built Construction & Restoration Inc., Elm Grove, La.
“That is why many remodelers reported lower numbers for future activity.”
The three components measuring current market conditions moved in different directions in the first quarter: major additions remained even at 44; minor additions rose one point to 52; and maintenance and repair dropped four points to 51. Two of the four components measuring future market indicators decreased: backlog of remodeling jobs dropped four points to 43 and appointments for proposals fell five points to 45.
Meanwhile, calls for bids rose one point to 47 and amount of work committed for the next three months remained even at 42.
Regionally, remodeling market conditions in the West increased three points to 47, while the other three regions showed declines: the Northeast to 48 (from 55), the Midwest to 50 (from 52) and the South to 46 (from 49).
NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said, “Even though many remodelers report that consumers are showing increased interest in remodeling, they are hesitant to act because of financing constraints and the spotty nature of the economic recovery, which so far has failed to reach some of the larger markets in country.”
He added: “Many consumers are likely to be deferring large remodeling projects until they feel more comfortable with the economic climate in their area.”
NAHB announced that due to a recently discovered computer coding error, the organization has revised the Remodeling Market Index going back to 2006. The error had slightly reduced the true values of the overall index, as well as its two major components.
The revisions generally show a one point or less quarterly increase, with quarter-to-quarter patterns remaining relatively unchanged. Some of the subcomponents experienced larger revisions but in a counteracting fashion, so that the impact on the primary indicators was muted, NAHB said.
More information on NAHB Remodelers: www.nahb.org/remodel.