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Spending on Home Improvement Is Set to Pick Up as Building Pace Slows

Spending on single-family home construction remains 40% below the levels of a decade ago, but new forecasts project that U.S. investment in residential remodeling and repairs this year will surpass records set during the housing boom.

Expense for repairs and remodeling is expected to surpass $300 billion this year, according to forecasts from John Burns Real Estate Consulting and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, ahead of the previous high of about $285 billion in 2007.

Remodeling and home building both declined significantly in the years following the bust, but the fall was much less steep for home renovation. Experts said the unusual nature of this housing recovery—with very low inventories of homes for sale, often leading to price appreciation and bidding wars—has prompted many homeowners to stay put and improve the home they already have.

“If you’re shopping for a home, the number of options out there are really low,” said Todd Tomalak, a vice president at John Burns Real Estate Consulting who focuses on building products research.

The...


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