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Remodeling market finishes strong 2009

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Spending on home remodeling up 8.2 percent as new construction drops 23.5 percent

WARROAD, Minn., Feb. 16, 2010Home remodeling is a bright spot in the troubled U.S. construction industry, according to Marvin Windows and Doors, the nation’s largest maker of wood and clad wood windows and doors.

Year-end figures from the U.S. Commerce Department show that 2009 spending on private, residential remodeling totaled $125.6 billion — up 8.2 percent from 2008. Meanwhile, new residential construction spending came in at $134.8 billion — a drop of 23.5 percent from the previous year.

“We’ve seen this shift in our own business, as energy-efficient replacement windows and doors have outperformed our products for the new-construction market,” said Marvin spokesman John Kirchner. “Instead of trading up to larger homes or flipping properties for a quick profit, we’re seeing homeowners elect to renovate their existing properties for greater comfort, efficiency and style.”

Reflecting the shift, remodeling grabbed a much bigger share of the overall residential construction dollar. For all of 2009, new construction accounted for 51.8 percent of residential construction spending, with remodeling at 48.2 percent.

By contrast, new construction accounted for 60.3 percent of residential construction spending in 2008 and remodeling for only 39.7 percent.

The federal tax credit for energy-efficient home improvements is also giving a boost to remodeling, Kirchner said. The tax credit of up to $1,500 is available for products purchased through the end of 2010.

Marvin offers a free, downloadable window and door replacement guide to help homeowners learn about the energy-efficient options available to them.

“Like everyone in the homebuilding industry, we’re eager to see an upturn in the new construction business,” Kirchner said. “But we’re also happy to see the continuing strength of the remodeling segment.”