A new study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) of Harvard University is predicting remodeling growth to soften during 2011. The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) study projects remodeling spending to increase on 0.2% during the year.

LIRA was created to estimate home improvement spending by homeowners both during the current quarter as well as the following three quarters. The indicator is measured as an annual rate-of-change of its components and provides a short-term outlook of remodeling activity. Its intent is to identify and predict future changes in the business cycle of the home improvement industry.

"Recent softness in the housing market and continued pessimism among remodeling contractors points to a slowdown in the remodeling market toward the end of the year," said Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the JCHS.

The Remodeling Futures Program is a study of the factors and influences that impact growth and the characteristics of housing improvement and repair activity around the country. The program seeks to better understand the link between the home improvement industry and the residential construction industry as a whole.

The JCHS, meanwhile, is Harvard University's center for research on housing inthe U.S. The center analyzes the dynamic relationships between hosing markets and the various economic, social, and demographic trends that impact them.