Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity chart, 2Q2014

The growth rate for pro-worthy remodeling projects will slow going into 2015's first quarter, but overall spending for the 12 months ending next spring still will mark a 7% gain, the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) of Harvard University forecast today.

The center's Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA), predicts spending during the four quarters through 1Q15 will total $143.5 billion. That's a few billion dollars below the two previous rolling four-quarter totals.

“With the economy improving slower than expected and home sales struggling to keep up with last year’s pace, the recent strong gains in remodeling spending will likely moderate later this year,” Chris Herbert, research director at the Joint Center, said in a statement. “Despite some headwinds, there continue to be promising signs for remodeling,” added Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center. “Remodeling contractor sentiment remains positive and house prices continue to rise in most areas of the country.”

LIRA focuses on home improvements that cost at least $500. The $143.5 billion in expected spending excludes spending on minor maintenance projects as well as all spending by landlords on their rental properties.