Remodelers, it’s time to get happy again.

During a recent webinar hosted by the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University, panelists proclaimed the remodeling industry is on the rise.

They went further than just a proclamation, though, breaking down what’s driving the comeback, including identifying specific trends in the fenestration market.

“In windows, we’ve seen the premium mix come back,” said Richard O’Reagan, group president of Global Plumbing at Taylor, Mich.-based Masco Corporation. “We’ve seen the higher-end products strengthen as well as the value-based products for multifamily housing–that’s rebounding as well.”

Richard McPhail, senior vice president at Home Depot, agreed with O’Reagan, saying they have seen a “gradual shift toward higher-end products” within his company as well.

There’s also a shift in the type of remodeling. Kermit Baker, director of the JCHS’s Remodeling Futures Program,  pointed out that discretionary projects (projects that improve homeowner lifestyles but are not demanding) are 50 percent of the remodeling market, up from 30 percent in 2013.

Baker explained this was good news for the industry as a whole because “when the market is doing better, there’s more discretionary spending. When it’s weaker, more money is spent on the replacement side,” he said.

The conversation then shifted to the mysterious Millennial generation (ages 14-34). As data emerges about their spending habits, McPhail suggested Millennials aren’t quite the outliers other generations think they are—at least when it comes to their homes.

“If you look attitudinally, this generation isn’t much different from others. They’re renters but plan to buy,” he said. He also pointed out that the family dynamics of Generation X (ages 35-54) lend themselves to the remodeling market, while baby boomers will be the biggest part of the market for a long time. “They continue to spend on their homes [and] have the means to make their homes more comfortable, efficient and safe,” he said.  


The full remodeling report is available here.

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