Featured in: Atlanta Business Chronicle
Written by:Lisa R. Schoolcraft, Staff Writer
A slumping economy may be hurting the home-building business, but area remodelers say work has been steady. One reason, they believe, is because with houses so difficult to buy or sell, homeowners needing more space are opting to remodel their existing homes.
“Remodeling has always been a strong industry, even in a down economy,” said Rocco Sinisgalli, CEO of Oneida Builders Inc. in Dunwoody and chairman of the remodeler’s council of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association.
The change has been clients are scaling back the upgrades, spending about 20 percent less, said Sinisgalli. “Instead of an $8,000 stove, they pick out a $6,000 stove.”
The remodeling business seems to fare well “every time we have a recession,” said John Beach, a partner in Paces Construction Co. LLC in Buckhead. “People decide to nest, not buy a bigger house.” Despite the financial turmoil, some families still need more space, he said.
“By far, what we see the most of is [adding] ground-floor master suites,” Beach said of current remodel jobs.
Kitchen and bathroom remodels also remain popular, Beach said.
Another big remodeling trend is to “go green,” Sinisgalli said, and make homes eco-friendly and energy-efficient. “We know energy is going to increase in cost.” The financial turmoil has had its effect, however.
In the past month, with the financial markets tanking, “we’ve seen some jobs postponed until the first of the year,” Beach said.
Jay Rhoden, principal of Macallan Residential LLC, sees it, too.
The remodeling work he’s done on higher-end homes, those $1 million and up, hadn’t changed much until about 60 days ago.
“I think people are starting to look at their stock portfolio and postponing [projects] until they see how things shake out,” he said.
Remodelers are also seeing a lot more competition from former home builders.
Randy Glazer, owner and president of Glazer Design & Construction, is both a home builder and a remodeler.
“Right now, remodeling is on fire and new-home construction is dead,” he said.
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