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Real Estate Report: remodels on the rise

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STATEWIDE (WGME) -- The remodeling industry is booming.

From kitchens to bathrooms, homeowners are expected to spend billions over the next year on renovations.

"The growth is just unprecedented," says Ron Haskell, President of Maine Properties, LLC.

Haskell is dealing with a dramatic rise in remodels.

"Usually by now I'm trying to find out if our phones actually work and right now it's very, very active," Haskell says. "We're doing a lot of kitchen, bath renovations, a lot of additions, a lot of large renovations right now compared to what it's been in the past."

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, home renovation and repair spending will increase from 6.3% in the fourth quarter of this year, to 7.7% by the third quarter of next year. The center's managing director says homeowners are projected to spend more than $330 billion on home upgrades and replacements, as well as routine maintenance.

"It's really kind of an exciting time for remodelers, good ones," Haskell says.

Haskell thinks there could be a variety of reasons why.

"Low interest rates, low unemployment, people believe they're going to have jobs, home equity loans are easy to get," says Haskell.

He also says there's a lack of available land.

"If you want to live in this certain area, there's no lots available, so their alternative is leaving where they want to live to renovating," Haskell says, "And we're seeing a lot of people do large renovations instead of building."

Haskell even thinks some homeowner are inspired by renovation television shows.

"So we're getting inquiries from people that I think are watching TV and saying maybe I can do that too," Haskell says.

Haskell says they're so busy they're struggling to find skilled help like carpenters, so there's a wait right now of about three months.

"We're seeing more inquiries right now than we would normally see in the middle of the summer," he says, "The business has just grown tremendously."


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