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Remodeling Activity Declines

Construction MaterialSome states across the country saw an increase in home maintenance activities despite an overall housing slump in March. This, according to the latest BuildFax Housing Health report.

The report, which explored the projected impacts of hail season on the housing stock also leverages U.S. property condition and history data to deliver macro- and microeconomic trends.

Looking at the overall housing market, the report saw a downward trend in housing indicators in March. While single-family housing authorizations decreased by 8.39%  existing housing maintenance volume decreased by 5.07% year over year.  Existing housing remodel volume also decreased by 9.76% during this period.

“The downward trend in housing activity has led to increased focus on the sector,” said Jonathan Kanarek, COO, BuildFax. Yet, there's hope for the spring season.

“In March, the Fed signaled no additional rate increases in 2019, which could boost investment in the housing market. The announcement is good news for consumers heading into the spring homebuying season. We may see some relief across maintenance and remodeling indicators, as home sales typically facilitate investment into the existing housing stock,” Kanarek said.

According to the report, the largest year-over-year increases in home maintenance were seen in New Mexico, New York, and North Carolina at 11.3%, 11%, and 7.5% respectively. Heading into summer, the report noted that the percentage of maintenance projects was likely to rise in hail- and hurricane-prone states.

It noted that as it rebuilds from the impact of Hurricane Florence, North Carolina continues to see elevated maintenance activity with recovery expected to last at least seven months for major repairs such as roof, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical.

As the hail season picks up, the report also projected increased maintenance work across the Midwest and Texas. According to the report, between 2011 and 2016, hail storms and wind damage accounted for 40% of all insured losses on a national level "and estimates continue to climb."

BuildFax also analyzed five severe hail storms over the past three years in Minnesota, Colorado and Texas to reveal that the average recovery of major systems following such storms lasts 5.4 months.

Roof and mechanical systems saw the most impact from a storm. The report noted that on a national level, roof maintenance increased 246.92% in the first three months following the average hailstorm compared to the year prior. In hail-impacted areas, homeowners risked repeated property damage, "but insight into property change and risk conditions enables carriers to accurately estimate claims pay outs and resolutions."

The report draws focus to property insurance as both, home maintenance and delinquencies tend to spike after a storm. As reported recently by DS News, without proper insurance, many homeowners impacted by natural disaster may be forced into foreclosure.

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and editor. A former Online Editor and currently a reporter for MReport, she is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.
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