Homeowners spent an estimated $129.3 billion on home improvements and repairs over the past four quarters, according to remodeling activity statistics released by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Spending has increased 5.1 percent since the third quarter of 2003.

“Manufacturers and distributors of home improvement products are reporting strong gains in recent months,” said Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program of the Joint Center. “Remodeling contractors are increasing overtime for their employees, so home improvement activity should accelerate in the months ahead”

Nicolas Retsinas, director of the Joint Center, attributed the increase in home improvement spending to job growth and low interest rates.

Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, established in 1959, is a collaborative unit affiliated with the Harvard Design School and the Kennedy School of Government. Since the first release of the Joint Center’s Remodeling Activity Indicator in 1998, several changes occurred that encouraged a revision in the computation methodology. They include changes in the way remodeling projects are financed, re-benchmarking of the government’s remodeling data, and the introduction of new data sources related to remodeling activity.

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