Is it time to unearth those long-lost plans for a gourmet kitchen remodel? More and more Americans are starting to think so.
After enduring gut-wrenching home price drops over the past few years, property values are beginning to inch up again, giving homeowners a confidence boost when it comes to the thought of pouring more money into their abodes, according to U.S. News & World Report.
According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, business is picking up after being in the doldrums for years, with members feeling more positive about the business climate and projecting steady growth through the end of the year.
"We had a strong spring and then it slowed down a bit, but we're back to phones ringing and signing contracts," said Kevin Anundson, president of Elk Grove, Wisc.-based Owner Assisted Remodeling, and national secretary for NARI.
Anundson credited some of the boost in business to easing gas prices, which have padded consumers' pockets a bit more, but also the fact that homeowners are tired of kicking the can down the road when it comes to giving their homes a facelift.
Now, the combination of low financing costs, improving home sales and stronger price gains are encouraging homeowners to revive their "honey-do" lists and barring some huge financial disaster, experts expect double-digit growth in homeowner spending on remodeling by the first quarter of 2013.
The remodeling industry itself faces some different realities in the wake of the housing bust. This time around, Americans are being a bit more budget conscious, opting for smaller-scale projects and making compromises on super high-end finishes.
Homeowners are also doing a lot more repairs rather than renovations. While bathroom, kitchen, and other lifestyle upgrades haven't disappeared by any means, contractors are reporting more roofing and siding jobs as well as replacing essential systems such as central heat and air conditioning.
The focus on less-glamorous renovations is partly due to the tighter budgets consumers are faced with these days. An average roof job usually costs under $20,000. A typical kitchen renovation on the other hand can be upwards of $75,000.
Read more about remodeling a green home.