Recession, Recovery ... Remodeling

The National Bureau of Economic Research says we're not out of the recessionary woods yet, though some think the economy is looking up. Floyd Norris of the Times, for one, thinks the numbers are pointed in the right direction. (More over at The Atlantic Wire.) Restaurants certainly seem to be rebounding.

Today, I stumbled across another intriguing indicator. It's called the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity -- LIRA for short. Produced regularly by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, the index measures "national homeowner spending on improvements for the current quarter and subsequent three quarters," and aims to track "future turning points in the business cycle of the home improvement industry." The graph charts the trend.


The plunge from 2007 through 2008 is striking. But a turnaround does seem to be in the works. Harvard's Nicolas Retsinas, who directs the Joint Center, notes that: "The LIRA suggests annual spending will accelerate, with nearly five percent growth in 2010."

It's hard to tell whether the LIRA signals a broader economic recovery. It may be that people who can't sell their homes are deciding that, if they have to stay put, they might as well renovate. If that's the case,  now may be the time to start that renovation project you've been putting off -- well before the good contractors start getting booked.

Presented by

Richard Florida is Co-founder and Editor at Large of CityLab.com and Senior Editor at The Atlantic. He is director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and Global Research Professor at NYU. More

Florida is author of The Rise of the Creative ClassWho's Your City?, and The Great Reset. He's also the founder of the Creative Class Group, and a list of his current clients can be found here

Life as an Obama Impersonator

"When you think you're the president, you just act like you are above everybody else."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

VIdeo

Life as an Obama Impersonator

"When you think you're the president, you just act like you are above everybody else."

Video

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

More in Business

From This Author

Just In