Depending on the region and the job, some homeowners are paying as much as 20% less for home-remodeling projects than they would have a few years ago. Many contractors are willing to accept smaller jobs and “handyman” projects that they used to snub. And more projects are being delivered on time and on budget—a stark contrast from the boom years.Remodeling prices are down an average 5% to 10% across the U.S. from their peak, firms say, largely due to bidding wars among contractors idled by the housing slump and lower costs for some materials, such as plywood, lumber and insulation, because of lower global demand.The remodeling industry has also been hurt by sluggish sales of new and existing homes; most remodeling is done within 18 to 24 months of the purchase of a home, studies indicate. Tighter credit and falling home values also hurt the industry, as many big jobs are financed with home-equity loans or other borrowing. Some new-home builders are now competing for home remodeling jobs, helping to force down prices even more.
By M.P. McQueen, Oct 29, 2009 WSJ

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