Spending on major home improvement projects will rise 4% over the 12-month period ending March 31 and total $146.4  billion, the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) produced by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies forecast today.

This increase--growth of only 2.8% was forecast for the previous 12-month period--comes after a pickup in homes sales activity, sustained growth in retail sales of home improvement products and ongoing gains in house prices across much of the country, JCHS reported.

On the increase, Chris Herbert, a managing director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, said: “Recent homebuyers typically spend about a third more on home improvements than non-movers, even after controlling for any age or income differences, so increasing sales this year should translate to stronger improvement spending gains next year.”

LIRA is an indicator designed to estimate national homeowner spending on improvements for the current quarter and subsequent three quarters. The number reflects spending by homeowners on projects worth at least $500. LIRA doesn't tally smaller homeowner improvements or any spending by landlords on their rental property. 

Click here to learn more about the most recent LIRA released.