Americans pour record sums into home improvements

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell 1.8% in June

A shortage of new single-family homes across the U.S. is pushing up prices and locking many buyers out of the market. The silver lining: a boom in renovations of existing homes.

Americans are expected to pour a record $316 billion into home remodeling this year, up from $296 billion a year earlier, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.The burst of renovations has been a boon for contractors as well as big home-improvement companies, which have enjoyed strong revenue growth even as most other retailers are struggling.

It also reflects rising home prices and growing consumer confidence, as people are once again willing to invest in their homes, either through savings or by tapping home equity.

“We turn away as much work as we do,” said Bill Halliday, owner of Home Improvements of Vero Beach, in Florida. “It used to be you could call me and I could get somebody to you in a couple of days. Now I can get somebody to you in four or five weeks.”

Information from The Wall Street Journal

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