Home remodelers catch spring fever

Last updated on May 24th, 2022 at 01:18 am

As the U.S. economy continues to expand, home remodelers in the Milwaukee area are experiencing a noticeable pick up in the demand for their services.

Fueled by rising confidence in the economy, warmer spring weather and fresh income tax refunds for homeowners, many members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry Milwaukee Chapter are reporting rising backlogs in customer orders for their services, often for several weeks.

“Having recently participated in the Milwaukee NARI Spring Home Improvement Show, there was a renewed sense of confidence in the air. Whatever the economic or emotional reason, consumers are no longer ‘thinking about’ remodeling projects, but are planning to go ahead and do them this year,” said Susie Feia, owner of Feia Construction LLC in Waukesha. “We are seeing people want to enhance their quality of life, and undertaking a remodeling project creates a functional, beautiful home that they can enjoy. We recently added a new employee in anticipation of increased demand for remodeling projects this coming year.” Spring is also a great time to conduct septic system maintenance with the help of a septic service company.

Randy Miller, president at Allrite Home & Remodeling in Milwaukee, said, “We at Allrite have seen not only an increase in sales in the first quarter, but the average exterior project is more elaborate, and a higher average cost per job. Homeowners also seem to be planning on staying in the homes longer, when we have questioned them.”

Tom Mainville, partner at Story Hill Renovations LLC in Wauwatosa, said, “We are seeing a jump in some really nice projects – instead of doing a ‘facelift’ just to get by, people are doing full-scale remodels, with additions jumping to the forefront now that home values are creeping back closer to the pre-2008 market.”

The rebirth of the home remodeling industry coincides with continued momentum in the U.S. economy in the first quarter, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest survey of regional economic conditions.

In its first-quarter “Beige Book” report, the Fed found modest or moderate growth in eight of its 12 districts across the nation.

“Consumer spending rose in most districts, and contacts were generally optimistic about near-term sales. Travel and tourism also increased in the reporting districts,” the Fed reported. “Manufacturing generally posted gains across the districts, although at varying rates. The demand for nonfinancial services also grew moderately on balance.”

The latest “Beige Book” reported widespread economic growth, despite headwinds generated by bad weather, a slowdown caused by labor strife in the West Coast ports and declining energy sector activity. The work slowdown at West Coast ports hurt agricultural exports cargo and volumes at some Midwest trucking firms.

“Payrolls remained stable or expanded across the districts, and contacts noted employment gains in a broad range of sectors. Wage pressures remained moderate and were limited largely to workers in skilled occupations. Most district contacts cited only flat to slightly increasing prices,” the Fed reported.

In the Seventh District, which includes Wisconsin, the Fed reported “moderate” gains in manufacturing, including production in the automotive sector.

“Growth in economic activity in the seventh district remained moderate in January and early February, and contacts expected growth to continue at a similar pace over the next six to 12 months. Consumer spending and manufacturing production rose moderately, while business spending and construction and real estate activity increased modestly. Credit conditions improved on balance,” the report stated.


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