Realty Check

Remodeling? Now you can snoop inside your neighbors' kitchen

An attendee views a kitchen renovation at the Home and Garden Show in Minneapolis.
Ariana Lindquist | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Home sales and home remodeling usually rise and fall in tandem, but remodeling may now be recovering faster. Remodeling first began to surge in 2009, well before home prices and sales began their recovery. Investors purchased millions of distressed homes, many of which had been gutted or even vandalized by disgruntled former owners.

In order to rent the homes, they had to remodel them, whether it was paint and polish or more extensive work. Now, as home sales bounce back, and, perhaps more importantly, as thousands of homeowners regain much-needed equity in their homes, remodeling is seeing greater gains.

"In the near term, homeowner spending on improvements is expected to see its strongest growth since the height of the housing boom," said Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

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