The latest release of the Remodeling Market Index (RMI) showed a slight increase in activity, but it likely isn't indicative of an imminent housing market recovery.

National Association of Home Builders

While the current conditions portion of the RMI crept up to 41.8 (from 40.9) in the first quarter of 2009, the portion of the index that gauges remodelers' expectations for the next quarter remained at 37.9, a historically low level. In a press release, David Seiders, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the organization that publishes the RMI, said, “We expect there to be some further erosion in 2008, with a gradual recovery in 2009.” NAHB Remodelers chairman and Farmington, N.M., remodeler Lonny Rutherford had a slightly sunnier outlook. “While remodeling is down nationally, some markets continue to churn with activity,” he said in the release. Indeed, overall increase in the current conditions was spurred by a spike in the Midwest (to 44.1 from 41.1). Rutherford also spoke to the changing nature of the market: “Many remodelers are seeing smaller jobs and have a shorter backlog, but we expect activity to increase because necessary home repairs cannot be postponed for a long time.”

Figure This

Year by which the “green” building market — currently estimated to be between $12 billion and $20 billion — is expected to double in size
Source: McGraw-Hill Construction/National Association of Home Builders

May reading of the RBC Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household (CASH) Index; the first time the index has posted a month-over-month increase in half a year
Source: RBC

1 in 4
Americans who said they would undertake a home improvement project this year; 76% of those said they would use outside resources for help rather than do it all themselves
Source: Ace Hardware