Forecast: Home remodeling gains well into 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — Contractors who remodel and repair homes can expect their business to keep growing well into 2013, according to a study released Thursday by Harvard University.

The university's Joint Center for Housing Studies said its latest Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity points to a 16.6 percent increase in home improvement spending during the second quarter from the same period of 2012. That's on top of a 12.1 percent increase expected in the first quarter and a nearly 6 percent increase this quarter. The index is compiled from data including the number of home sales and the amount of money spent on home construction.

Many contractors have seen their business improve this year as home sales have risen. Homeowners tend to renovate or repair their homes before they sell them and after they buy them. In August, home sales nationwide were up 9.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors.

"The LIRA suggests that the seeds for what appears to be a very robust remodeling recovery have been planted," the housing studies center said.

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