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Remodel Your Portfolio

By Linda McDonough on August 23, 2016

Thinking of replacing those bulky kitchen cabinets or having your bathroom remodeled? Take a number. Contractors are swamped with requests for quotes these days from homeowners eager to spruce up their biggest asset.

Demand for remodeling is set to surpass records set 10 years ago during the housing boom. A recent analysis by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and John Burns Real Estate Consulting group forecast that spending on home remodeling projects will rise almost 10% in 2017 to $300 billion. This robust growth is already lifting profits for many remodeling suppliers.

With more than $300 billion slated for residential overhaul spending next year, I’ve been compiling a list of stocks benefiting from the boom. Many of these stocks took a quick breather when Lowe’s missed its second quarter comp sales number due to bad weather in May. Most of this weakness was related to outdoor sales which make up 40% of second quarter sales.

Both of my Profit Catalyst Alert and Growth Stock Strategist portfolios hold at least one position that should directly benefit from this trend, but I’m ready to scoop up some more stocks to help remodel your portfolio for gains.

A Strong Market

The particularly tenacious strength in the housing market is partly responsible for the remodeling binge. During the housing bubble, homeowners would simply “trade up” to a home with walk-in closets, landscaped patios or the granite counters that they wanted. The rapid rise in prices meant buyers could quickly reap huge gains on housing investments. Loose and abundant financing allowed for ridiculous bidding wars.

But these days more subdued price increases, record levels of absolute housing prices and more rational lending standards make house flipping less attractive. Staying put and improving your existing home is frequently the more popular choice.

The price of a home is steadily increasing each year. Year to date the average price for a U.S. home is $365,000 versus an average price that poked up just above $300,000 at the 2006 housing peak.

Slim inventory is keeping these prices aloft. The John Burns Real Estate Consulting report notes a dearth in listings. For sale listings as a percent of total occupied households is 1.7% this year, the lowest percent in at least 30 years and well below the 2.3% median.

Frustrated real estate agents are stuffing mailboxes of residents in desirable neighborhoods with pleas for new listings, and first time buyers are shifting their dreams to condos from single family houses.

Despite low mortgage rates, buyers are not able to find a desirable home at an affordable price. So homeowners are deciding to stay put and hire a team to upgrade their homes. Home Depot and Lowe’s both confirmed on their second quarter earnings calls that remodeling is going strong. Both companies saw above average demand from professional contractors buying lumber, doors and other supplies.

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  1. avatar
    Lyubov Litvin Reply August 25, 2016 at 7:06 PM EDT

    What ‘s names of 7 Must-Have survivors stocks for the coming correction ?