|American Glass’ New Shower Display at Remodeling Expo|
SPRINGFIELD – As the curtain fell Sunday on the Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield’s annual Home Remodeling Expo, vendors and organizers alike were encouraged. Nearly 5,000 people attended the show – better attendance than in either of the two most recent years of the show. Beyond sheer numbers, vendor evaluation forms indicated those in attendance appeared to be in a serious planning mode for home improvement, remodel or new construction projects.
“That is a refreshing and welcome shift in the mindset of consumers,” said Matt Morrow, CEO of the HBA of Greater Springfield. “We know that the economic conditions here have been better than in most markets, but that doesn’t mean it has been easy. There is a difficult psychology that can set in with a national recession, causing many people who objectively really should consider buying a home or remodeling the one they are in, to hesitate. Based on what we were hearing this weekend, that psychology could finally be shifting in a more positive direction.”
That would be good news not just for the residential construction industry, but for the overall economic picture in southwest Missouri. Every 100 single famlily homes built equates to about 300 fulltime jobs in the region – and millions of dollars in ripple effect throughout local economies. The impact of remodeling projects is similar. As those projects begin happening again at a rate closer to normal levels, overall economic conditions should turn dramatically for the better.
Strong vendor participation (booth space for the show sold out a full week before the show opened Friday) and rebounding attendance for this weekend’s local show is consistent with recent national indications of a resurgent remodeling industry. The most recent data from the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA), points to double digit growth in remodeling spending by the first quarter of 2011. The study also indicates that home improvement activity appears to be moving beyond simple replacement projects and energy retrofits to broader remodels and upgrades.
Professional association surveys involving remodelers, architects and design professionals also demonstrate homeowner interest in dealing with structural changes such as accessibility and open spaces. People reportedly are asking for more flexible, open, and informal layouts that allow for both ease of movement and fostering a space more conducive to family living. The most recent American Institute of Architects (AIA) quarterly survey results released in August showed improving conditions for kitchen and bath remodeling as well as additions and alterations.