2012 is already shaping up to be a very busy year for remodelers in the Seattle area. At Ventana Construction we’ve already had more inquiries during the month of January than we have during any other month we’ve been in business. We are hearing the same thing from the architects we work with, many of whom are already busy during a time that is typically a slow couple of months.
This Seattle-area anecdotal data is substantiated by the National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index (RMI) for the fourth quarter of 2011, which is at its highest level in 5 years. Ventana Construction has participated in this quarterly survey of remodeling market conditions for the last few years. While the RMI shows a number of remodeling companies are still in recovery mode, the index did show increases in market demand both large and small additions. And demand is clearly up again since the big downturn in 2008.
What does that mean for homeowners who are planning remodels this year? Start planning now. Architects who are busy now might not be able to start on a project for a few months, and that could push the start of construction out to mid-summer or even fall.
All of the projects architects are now planning now will likely start construction in late spring or early summer, so those time frames will be busy for residential contractors.
If you have looked into remodeling or building in the last few years, you will find that market conditions have changed. The dip in the economy in 2008-2009 created a temporary glut of contractors, but in the last two years, many firms have gone out of business entirely. That means there are fewer professional, qualified firms to choose from, and it’s looking like many of those will book up their schedules with all the projects already in the design phase. That means securing a space on your selected contractor’s schedule as early as possible will be important.
Often, construction activity is seen as a bellwether of overall economic vitality, so seeing this increase in inquiries and plans for remodels in process is making us very optimistic about 2012. It’s a welcome change.