Updated: Tuesday, 19 May 2009, 7:02 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 19 May 2009, 7:02 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - In this uncertain economy, it would seem to make sense that more people would choose to remodel instead of buying a new home.
George and Lu Olp bought their house in Fishers four years ago
and haven't stopped working on it since. Current projects are
expanding the garage and the master bedroom.
"Seems like every time that we finish one project, she can think of another one," said George. "So we end up doing lots of them in series, which is fun."
Home improvement retailers are reaping the benefits. Monday,
Lowe's reported first-quarter earnings that were better than
expected. Home Depot did the same on Tuesday. But analysts say much
of that is due to the stores holding costs down rather than selling
more big-ticket remodeling items.
Research from Harvard University points to home improvement spending actually decreasing this year by 12 percent.
Professor William Rieber of Butler University's business school said, "The only problem with remodeling is that if home values are going down, many families may want to postpone remodeling until home values have stabilized for fear that home remodeling won't increase the value of the house."
George and Lu said they don't expect to sell their home for
years. They're remodeling because they love to.
"My joy is that I have a very strong husband that lifts well," said Lu. "Because if I dream it, he can help me make it come to fruition. It's wonderful."
The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies said it doesn't look like remodeling overall will recover until consumers have more confidence in the housing market.