Harvard JCHS' LIRA for the first quarter of 2018
Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Americans' spending on value-adding home improvement and repairs will rise 7.2% over the 12 months through March 2019 to total $341 billion, 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.

The forecast marks the fourth straight quarterly report in which annual spending was predicted to rise at least 7% over the coming 12-month period and the 10th straight quarter in which the year-over-year increase was predicted to top 6%.

“Strengthening employment conditions and rising home values are encouraging homeowners to make greater investments in their homes,” Chris Herbert, JCHS' managing director, said in a news release. “Upward trends in retail sales of building materials and the growing number of remodeling permits indicate that homeowners are doing more—and larger—improvement projects.”

LIRA draws from the federal American Housing Survey to project the annual rate of change in the value of residential improvements and repairs in the U.S. It includes spending on home improvement activities that add value to the home, like remodeling, renovation, additions, major alterations or replacements of home components. It excludes maintenance and repairs that simply preserve the current value of the home as well as any spending on rental units.