After a somewhat promising end to 2006, remodeling activity fell in the first quarter of 2007, according to the latest release of the Remodeling Market Index (RMI). The index had bounced back with two consecutive quarters of growth after hitting its lowest point in three years in the second quarter of 2006.

Based on a survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the seasonally adjusted RMI stands at 46.1, more than two points lower than where it was in the fourth quarter of 2006. An RMI of 50 or above is considered positive.

Although the decline can be attributed in large part to the struggling new-home market, NAHB Remodelers chairman and Chicago remodeler Mike Nagel notes that the very nature of remodeling makes it a steadier industry. “A significant part of the remodeling market comes from work that homeowners cannot delay,” he said in a press release.

The Midwest — which consistently had reported the lowest of the regions in both current conditions and future expectations — showed an increase in both portions of the RMI. The other three regions all declined.

National Association of Home Builders