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Putting off a home improvement project? This may be the time to get it done.

An indicator developed by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies suggests a slowdown in home remodeling activity will occur in 2024. The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) projects annual owner expenditures for home updates and maintenance to decline by 7.7 percent through the third quarter of 2024.

There are a number of reasons for the projected slowdown in remodeling activity. There is ongoing weakness in the overall housing market caused by higher interest rates. Uncertainty over the health of the economy and job market may also be an influence.

But this could be good news for homeowners who plan to remodel a kitchen or bathroom this year or undertake any home improvement project using a contractor. It’s the basic economic law of supply and demand – if contractors have fewer jobs they may offer more competitive bids to get your business.

Hiring a remodeling contractor is serious business. Not only is it likely to be costly, you and your family will be living with the contractor and crew while the work is being done.

Finding a contractor

Here are some ways to find a contractor:

There are also some important questions you should ask:

  • Are you licensed and certified?

  • Will you pull all required permits?

  • Are you fully insured?

  • Will there be a dedicated team of workers or will you rotate subcontractors?

Finally, ask how many similar projects the contractor has carried out. If the contractor does mostly exterior work, the company might not be a good fit to remodel a bathroom. It’s also a good idea to ask for references.

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies has concluded that 2024 is shaping up to be a challenging year for the home remodeling industry. That could work to consumers’ advantage.