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New Data Projects Home Improvement Momentum

The DIY momentum seen in 2020 may have staying power in 2021, according to new market data exploring the home improvement market size, existing home sales and overall recent home improvement retail sales.

DIY Market Expands

More home improvement shoppers will be undertaking DIY projects in 2021, according to new data from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

The Center’s Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) offers a short-term snapshot of national home improvement and repair spending of owner-occupied homes. The latest LIRA release projects national spending for remodeling and repairs will grow to $352 billion in 2021, up nearly four percent from 2020 levels.

“The remodeling market continues to benefit from a strong housing market—including accelerating growth in homebuilding, sales, and home equity,” says Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “In addition to routine replacement and repair projects, homeowners are likely to pursue more and larger discretionary home improvements this year as the broader economy recovers.”

The latest LIRA release also sheds light on recent DIY projects, revising total home improvement market size for the years 2018 and 2019.

“Spending in 2018 and 2019 was slightly more robust than previously estimated, growing 12.8 percent over these two years compared to 11.5 percent as estimated,” says Abbe Will, associate project director in the Remodeling Futures Program at the Center.

Existing Home Sales Surge

Another key indicator of 2021 market opportunities is the sale of existing homes in the U.S.

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales in December rose to 6.8 million homes, up more than 22 percent from December 2019.

In total, existing U.S. home sales were at the highest level recorded since 2016.

“Home sales rose in December, and for 2020 as a whole, we saw sales perform at their highest levels since 2006, despite the pandemic,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “What’s even better is that this momentum is likely to carry into the new year, with more buyers expected to enter the market.”

Retail Strength Continues

In December, NAICS 444 retail sales totaled roughly $36 billion, holding steady from November and more than 22 percent higher than in 2019.

Overall, NAICS 444 retailers earned roughly $438 billion across 2020, up more than 14 percent from 2019 as COVID-19 prompted many families and individuals to rethink their homes and improve their properties.

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About Todd Taber

Todd is trends editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. He graduated from Indiana University where he majored in journalism and French. Throughout his career, he has aimed to highlight small businesses and their community value. He joined NRHA in 2017.

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