Residential BuildFax Remodeling Index in February rose 20% to 95.1 year-over-year, down 4% month-over-month; all regions in U.S. posted year-over-year gains, but Northeast lagging behind other regions

AUSTIN, Texas , April 18, 2011 (press release) – While winter continued to be cold, the remodeling industry proved to be surprisingly hot with results of the latest BuildFax Remodeling Index (BFRI) report showing continued year-over-year gains with more people remodeling their homes while the economy continues its slow recovery.

The latest BFRI index, detailing remodeling activity from February 2011, indicated that residential remodeling activity registered the sixteenth straight month of year-over-year gains, demonstrating that many Americans are turning to remodeling their current homes, rather than purchasing new homes or apartments.

The BFRI is the only source directly reporting residential remodeling activity across the nation with monthly information derived through related building permit activity filed with local building departments across the country. This monthly report provides month-over-month and year-over-year comparisons on trends in remodeling activity for the entire United States, as well as for the four major regions of the country: Northeast, South, Midwest, and West.

The February 2011 index shows that the West is outperforming the rest of the country, although every region had more remodeling activity in February 2011 than in February 2010. The Midwest was down more month-over-month than other regions, although 2011 continues to look like a better year for remodeling in the Midwest than 2010. The Northeast is showing improvement in remodeling activity, but very slowly, while remodeling activity in the South has started accelerating.

“The cold weather and heavy snows in February could not put a damper on the sustained gains in the remodeling industry, as the month showed increased remodeling activity compared to a year earlier,” said Joe Emison, Vice President of Research and Development at BuildFax. “February 2011 was a strong month for the industry, despite the fact that remodeling activity traditionally dips during the winter months. February 2011 was better than or equal to February 2010 in every region of the country.”

Historic index values (going back to early 2004) are available for purchase from http://index.buildfax.com/.

The Residential BuildFax Remodeling Index rose 20% year-over-year—and for the sixteenth straight month—in February to 95.1, the highest February number in the index since 2006. Residential remodels in February were down month-over-month 3.9 points (4%) from the January value of 99.0, and up year-over-year 16.0 points from the February 2010 value of 79.1. All regions posted year-over-year gains, although the Northeast continues to lag behind the other regions.

All regions posted year-over-year gains, although the West posted a much higher year-over-year gain than the other regions, reaching well above index values for the West in February 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007. The Midwest posted a larger-than-expected month-over-month decline between January and February, although the Midwest still posted a year-over-year increase. Specifically, the Northeast’s February 2011 BFRI numbers were up 3.7 points (7%) year-over-year and down 7.1 points (11%) month-over-month; the South was up 7.7 points (11%) year-over-year and down 1.2 points (1%) month-over-month; the Midwest was up 0.3 points (1%) year-over-year and down 18.7 points (22%) month-over-month; and the West was up 17 points (21%) year-over-year and down 2.6 points (3%) month-over-month.

About BuildFax (www.buildfax.com):

BuildFax, a division of BUILDERadius, is the creator of the first and only national database of historical building permit data. Co-headquartered in Austin, Texas and Asheville, North Carolina, BuildFax has created a proprietary property intelligence engine that contains building and permitting information from 4,000+ cities and counties throughout the country. Local building departments in each of these towns across the country inspect construction to make sure it meets quality and safety standards; as such it is an absolutely critical part of the public safety infrastructure. BuildFax is then able to consolidate this information into the dataset, which is a tremendous asset to professionals in the insurance, financial services, inspection, and appraisal industries, as well as buyers and sellers of property. As the best and only source of a structure’s “life story,” the BuildFax database continues to grow, currently covering over 60 percent of the U.S. commercial and residential building stock with 6 billion data points.

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