Homeowners are sitting on $5.4 trillion in ready cash, the most ever

“There’s no question that a majority of homeowners have amassed considerable equity gains since the downturn. Home prices have grown a cumulative 48 percent since 2011 and are up 5.9 percent through the first two months of this year,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR. “Supply conditions would improve measurably, and ultimately lead to more sales, if a growing number of homeowners finally decide that this spring is the time to list their home for sale.”

That has yet to happen, and instead, projections for home remodeling are rising. Homeowner spending on remodeling and repair will approach $340 billion this year, an increase of 7.5 percent over last year, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies’ Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity.

“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, 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.

That could mean big gains for home improvement retailers like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Masco.

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