This story was originally published in Remodeling.

Harvard JCHS' LIRA for the fourth quarter of 2017
Harvard JCHS

Homeowner expenditures on improvements and repairs will rise 7.5 percent in 2018 from last year to approach $340 billion, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released today by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

"Despite continuing challenges of low for-sale housing inventories and contractor labor availability, 2018 could post the strongest gains for home remodeling in more than a decade," said Abbe Will, a research associate in the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center. "Annual growth rates have not exceeded 6.8 percent since early 2007, before the Great Recession hit."

JCHS Managing Director Chris Herbert credited that robust number to broad economic strength, growing demand for home improvements, and the need to do restoration work in areas ravaged by hurricanes, fires, and other natural disasters.

LIRA sees to project the annual rate of change in spending for the most recent quarter and the four to follow. It's based on extrapolations from the Census Bureau's American Housing Survey.

This story was originally published in Remodeling.