Home improvement spending is predicted to trend upwards during the second and third quarters of 2012, which could align the remodeling industry for a positive finish to the year, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released today by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) of Harvard University.

"We're beginning to see some hopeful signs in the economy and the housing market is finally starting its slow recovery," said Eric Belsky, managing director of JCHS. "That should prove helpful for home improvement spending as the year progresses."

Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program, said existing home prices increased in recent months, offering more opportunities for remodeling projects.

"As lending institutions become less fearful of the real estate sector, financing will become more readily available to owners looking to undertake remodeling," Baker added.

The LIRA is used to estimate national homeowner spending on home improvements for the current and subsequent three quarters. It is measured as an annual rate-of-change of its components and provides a short-term outlook of remodeling activity with a focus on identifying future changes in the business cycle of the home improvement and remodeling industry.