The Springfield News-Leader’s Didi Tang reported on the HBA Home Remodeling Expo in an article that appeared on the paper’s front page Saturday (October 18).
October 18, 2008
‘Market is still out there’ for home improvements
Local construction of new homes has taken a hit from the sluggish housing market, but Springfieldians remain enthusiastic about home improvements.
As of this week, homeowners in Springfield have applied for 275 permits totaling nearly $11.8 million worth of remodeling and repair work for their houses, compared to 352 permits worth just a little over $11 million for the entire year of 2007.
“They’re investing their money in their own homes,” said Matt Morrow, executive director for the Homebuilders Association of Greater Springfield.HIGHLIGHT THIS AND PASTE FIRST PORTION TO HEREhighlight this and paste remainder
That probably explains why the annual Home Remodeling Expo — which began Friday and ends Sunday at the Missouri Entertainment and Events Center — once again sold out its booth space to area businesses.
“The vendors believe the market is still out there, or they wouldn’t have spent hundreds of dollars to set up a booth,” said Jennifer McClure, director of public affairs for the local HBA.
Morrow added the actual dollar figure for home improvements surpasses the amount recorded at City Hall because many renovation jobs don’t require a permit.
The remodeling expo, which allows local businesses in the building industry to make direct sale pitches to consumers, apparently has its draw from near and far.
“If there are good projects with good prices, it may have an influence,” said Gene Jones of Harrison, Ark.
More likely than ever, homeowners are getting better prices and more timely services, said Mark Sechler, who owns Sechler Remodeling.
On Friday, he filled his booth with photos of his past renovation jobs.
Sechler said he remains busy but does not have as much backlog as he had a year ago.
“That’s a good thing (for homeowners). You can get more prompt service than when everybody was busy,” he said. “Price? (Remodelers) want to stay busy … they are willing to come down a little to keep their men and women working.”
Monta Wiggin, a project manager with B’s Renaissance Renovations, said the demographics of those who remodel have shifted as the housing market changes.
A few years ago, more people were investing in homes they could sell for a profit in a booming market, Wiggin said.
Today, homeowners are spending money to remodel homes they plan to stay in for the next few years, so they may not rush as much as the flippers, Wiggin said.
Another trend is that homeowners, like Debbie Hendricks of Springfield, are renovating for energy efficiency.
“When the economy is what it is now, you’re not going to put a rug under your dining table, but (you’ll) improve energy efficiency,” said Hendricks, who plans to purchase doors and windows that will help lower utility bills.
She added that she has become more environmentally conscious and is recycling more.
Chris Lowe, a sales consultant with Krueger Mechanical Services, said the business is booked through January. Krueger sells tankless water heaters and water furnaces that draw energy from underground.
Some who came to the expo Friday were interested in new ideas.
“We’re looking for innovative ideas for our new home,” said David Sayre, who moved to Ava from Tacoma, Wash., with wife Cathy.
Some said the economic downturn has little impact on their remodeling plans.
“We don’t have major projects,” said Ron Crosswhite of Republic.
Chimed in his wife, Sharon: “We want our home to be more customized to what we want.”