Remodelers continued to enjoy strong demand for their services in the third quarter, and most expect healthy business activity throughout the next several months, according to results of the National Association of Home Builders' latest Remodeling Market Index issued today.

The latest RMI is based on a quarterly survey of 434 professional remodelers, whose answers to a series of questions were assigned numerical values to calculate two separate indexes. The first index gauges current market conditions and is based on remodelers' reports of major and minor additions and alterations, plus maintenance work and repairs, on both owner- and renter-occupied dwellings. The second index gauges expectations for the near future and is based on remodelers' reports of their calls for bids, amount of work committed for the next three months, job backlogs and appointments for proposals. A variety of "special questions" are also asked at the end of the survey to help pinpoint market trends.

Both indexes remained virtually unchanged in this year's third quarter after registering substantial gains in the previous three months. The index gauging current market conditions slipped one-tenth of one point to 53.5, while the index gauging future expectations rose by the same margin to 54.9. However, year-over-year comparisons--which are more appropriate because the RMI is not seasonally adjusted--reveal substantial gains of 3.7 points for current market conditions and 6.7 points for future expectations.

The Northeast was the strongest region for professional remodeling in 2003's third quarter, posting the highest RMI readings for both current market conditions and future expectations. While the Midwest, South and West all posted a slight decline from exceptionally robust RMI readings in the previous quarter, all four regions registered gains from their year-ago standings.