Remodeling activity up for 18th consecutive month

Residential remodeling activity continued to rise across the United States, showing a 15% increase in April 2011 in year-over-year comparisons, according to an index compiled by BuildFax, which uses a national database of building permit data. 

The latest BuildFax Remodeling Index (BFRI) indicates that residential remodeling activity registered its eighteenth-straight month gain.

“April traditionally sets a baseline for the rest of the year in residential remodeling activity, and April 2011 is the best we’ve seen since the beginning of the index in April 2004,” said Joe Emison, VP research and development at BuildFax. “The BFRI is indexed to start at 100 in April 2004 and here we are seven years later, after significant drops in housing value, and the index is almost 110. That means there were almost 10% more residential remodels in April 2011 than in April 2004. Given the relatively pessimistic economic news that we heard about in April, including a slowing recovery, this is a nice surprise for the industry."

In April, all regions posted month-over-month gains, and only the Midwest posted a year-over-year loss. The West was up 18% year-over-year and up 5.3 points, or 5%, month-over-month. The Midwest was down 19% year-over-year and up 17% month-over-month, recovering slightly from a lower-than-average March. The Northeast was up 5% year-over-year and 14% month-over-month, and the South was up 11% year-over-year and 12% month-over-month.

Based in Austin, Texas, and Asheville, N.C., BuildFax bases its index on a proprietary property intelligence engine that contains building and permitting information from 4,000-plus cities and counties across the United States.