According to the National Association of Home Builders' Remodeling Market Index (RMI), remodeling activity grew in the first quarter of 2006. The current market conditions index rose from 46.6 to 48.1, while the future expectations index moved from 47.5 to 48.9.

The index measures remodelers' perceptions of the market for current and future projects. According to the NAHB, any number above 50 in the index points toward a majority of remodelers believing that the market is expanding.

The RMI for owner-occupied units grew from 48.9 in the fourth quarter of 2005 to 53.8, while renter-occupied units fell from 40.4 to 36.7 during the same period. In the futures expectation index, owner-occupied units moved from 50.4 to 53.2 and the renter-occupied component decreased from 37.8 to 30.4 for the first quarter of 2006.

"Though the frenzy in home buying is slowing down, the remodeling spending associated with purchasing a home usually lags behind," said NAHB chief economist Dave Seiders. "The run-up in home sales during the past five years will fuel remodeling growth for in the next several years, and the long-term growth looks to be solid as well."

Regionally, there was strong growth throughout the country except the West, though that area still remains well within the positive range. The Northeast's current conditions increased by nearly 10 points from 41.6 to 51.1 and the future index jumped from 41.0 to 47.3. Current conditions increased in the Midwest from 41.1 to 44.3 with the future expectations increasing by .4 to 46.6.