More American homeowners are repairing and remodeling their houses again as the overall housing market begins to show signs of life.
"It had been quite dismal for most remodeling contractors," said Tom O'Grady, president of O'Grady Builders, based in Drexel Hill, Pa. "I had gone two years without doing a significant home addition. Very few inquiries even. And now I've got two. That tells me it's coming back."
Much like the recovery in the overall housing industry, the pickup in remodeling comes as home prices have staged a convincing bottom in most of the country, said O'Grady. Just as falling prices discouraged homeowners from repairing or expanding a house, rising prices have given them confidence to undertake a delayed project. Rising home equity is also helping to finance the work, he said.
The remodeling industry is also benefiting from the need to fix up the swollen inventory of foreclosed houses in many distressed markets, according to a report released Wednesday by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.