Bay Area cities top markets for home remodeling, says BuildFax – Inman


The top markets for home remodeling in California last year include San Francisco and Fremont.

A recent report from BuildFax cites San Francisco as the 12th best city for home improvement permit activity nationally, as the volume of residential remodeling projects increased by 8 percent year-over-year. Overall, 4.5 percent of San Francisco homes were remodeled last year, with plumbing and electrical-related work being the most common types of upgrades.

Since 2013, the city of Fremont has experienced a 25 percent increase in home remodeling activity, the primary reason the market ranked 19th on BuildFax’s list.

Last year 3.7 percent of the city’s homes were upgraded, with roofing, solar and plumbing improvements representing the most common work. It was also noted that the city is considered by BuildFax to be one of the fastest growing markets for commercial remodeling.

What does home remodeling mean for the housing market?

An increase in remodeling activity within these Bay Area cities could be a sign that more homeowners are opting to stay in their current residences and upgrade, rather than purchasing a home in a highly competitive market with continuing double-digit price appreciation.

In January the median home price in San Francisco was up on a year-over-year basis by 14.3 percent. Fremont’s median home value was up even more, by 17.1 percent, according to Zillow.

Both markets also feature minimal existing for-sale inventory. Entering February, San Francisco County’s existing supply stood at 2.3 months. One month ago, Fremont’s existing inventory sat at only 78 homes, according to Movoto. In Alameda County, where Fremont is situated, for-sale inventory is at two months.

At the same time, both San Francisco and Fremont are considered to be hot seller’s markets where homes are still, on average, selling above their original list prices. This would lead one to believe that a portion of these cities’ overall remodeling activity is being driven by owners that are upgrading prior to listing a home.

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