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    North of NYC North of NYC By Houlihan Lawrence By Houlihan Lawrence by

    The Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University just released a study projecting home improvement spending will increase by 5% this year. According to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA), this would be the first annual increase for home improvement since 2006.

    This nationwide study cites a stabilizing housing and job market, and increasing consumer confidence as contributing factors to this significant uptick in spending. However, the difference between a home renovation in 2010 vs. the boom years is a practical and prudent mindset. Today, new counter tops, appliances and floors are enough to update the kitchen, unlike a few years ago when a new kitchen meant super-size me with additional square footage, custom cabinetry and restaurant quality appliances.

    Other energy efficient home improvement projects include creating a home with better insulation, geothermal heat pumps, and water heaters. The Federal government's Energy Star program issues tax credits for certain energy saving home improvement projects.

    Are you considering a home improvement project this year?