Remodeling continued its year-long slowdown in the second quarter of 2006, according to Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies.

The July release of the Remodeling Activity Indicator (RAI) estimated that homeowners spent $155 billion on improvements in the four-quarter period beginning in July of last year. It's the second consecutive quarter-to-quarter decrease, and the modest 2.8% increase over '05 is the smallest annual rate of change since the first quarter of '04.

In its press release, Joint Center officials cited several reasons for the slide in activity. “Slower home sales limit the opportunities for home improvement projects, since the time of purchase traditionally is a popular time for undertaking these projects,” said Kermit Baker, director of the Joint Center's Remodeling Futures Program.

RM060901036aH1.jpg Source: Joint Center of Housing Studies Nicolas Retsinas, director of the Joint Center, said that “homeowners are deferring major improvement projects in the context of softening housing markets.” The National Association of Realtors reported that the median home price in June ($231,000) represented an increase of less than 1% over the year before. That's the smallest annual change in more than a decade. Retsinas also identified rising interest rates as another factor contributing to the slowdown.

Source: Joint Center of Housing Studies