U.S. remodeling activity slowed slightly in the fourth quarter of 2004 as the year ended with unusually wet weather, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI). Fourth-quarter results fell one point behind the seasonally adjusted third quarter of 2004.
"Although the RMI is seasonally adjusted, we still can’t always predict the weather," said Remodelors Council Chairman Don Novak, a remodeler from Cedar Rapids, IA ,U.S. "The interest rates are still good, and remodelers are looking forward to a rebound in the spring."
The RMI is derived from a quarterly national survey of 500 remodelers and is seasonally adjusted. The current market conditions index fell one point, from 51.8 last quarter to 50.7. The future expectations index moved ahead from 52.4 to 54.
"Despite the slowdown in the fourth quarter of 2004, the market remains positive as future expectations continues to record growth," said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. "Calls for bids and appointments for proposals are still coming in, leading us to expect a healthy 2005."
The market virtually remained the same in terms of major additions and alterations, moving from 49.22 in the third quarter of 2004 to 49.88 in the fourth quarter. Minor additions and alterations slid 1.5 points to 50.15. The RMI’s maintenance and repairs component also slowed in the fourth quarter to 52.41 from 54.61 in the third quarter. Unlike other recent quarters, the strength of remodeling activity moved from an owner-occupied focus to the renter-occupied market. The biggest jump in the fourth quarter came in the form of appointments for proposals, which moved from 54.45 in the third quarter to 61.21, signaling a rebound in the spring.
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