The National Association of the Remodeling Industry's (NARI) fourth-quarter Remodeling Business Pulse (RBP) data of current and future conditions shows many remodelers starting the year with more work than they've had in several years.
"That backlog has given remodelers confidence that the overall business conditions will remain positive," said Tom O'Grady, chairman of NARI's Strategic Planning & Research Committee and president of O'Grady Builders in Drexel Hill, Pa.
NARI's growth indicators rate prospective business from a low of 1 to a high of 9, concluding that 2014 should start at 6.41 when compared to last year.
However, conversion of bids to jobs continues to be the weakest measure when compared to the same time last year, coming in at a flat rating of 6.03 from last year.
Yet, the projected strength of sales in the last three months of 2013 had a significant increase to 6.41 from the 6.12 recorded in September.
"The fourth quarter of this year was very strong for many remodelers," O'Grady said. "Average sale prices continue to rise, and consumers are more comfortable spending money on projects that will increase the value of their homes."
Other significant contributors to better expected activity this year, according to O'Grady:
* People needing to do projects that had been postponed was selected by 75% (down from 85% last quarter);
* Improving home prices came in second, at 60% of respondents (down from 72% in September); and
* Improved economic growth continued at the No. 3 spot, at 52% (an increase of 6% from last quarter).
"The outlook forecasts that favorable business conditions will remain strong across all regions of the U.S.," O'Grady said. "Consumer confidence is up, which translates into more homeowners feeling safe investing in their homes."