Harvard researchers predict increased home improvement spending

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The recent rise in home sales and rising home prices across the country will probably lead to increases in home improvement spending, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) announced Thursday.

In the “Housing Perspectives” blog, Harvard JCHS Research Analyst Abbe Wills says homeowners will spend 4 percent more money on home improvements in the first quarter of 2016.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies, she says a recent rise in home sales will probably lead to upcoming home improvements since recent buyers spend more than non-movers. Also, the rising equity in homes through rising home prices will encourage homeowners to make improvements.

JCHS also offers a 2015 report on the home improvement industry titled, “Improving America’s Housing 2015: Emerging Trends in the Remodeling Market.”  And in its introduction, the report notes several reasons why the home improvement industry could post record-level spending this year (the record is $324 billion in 2007). For example, the percentage of discretionary home improvements increased almost $6 billion between 2011 and 2013, and kitchen and bath upgrades in 2013 accounted for 17 percent of the $192 billion spent by homeowners on home improvements.

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