Remodeling costs are down an average of 5 percent to 10 percent nationwide with some areas down 20 percent, the remodeling industry reports.

In the 12 months that ended in March 2009, the most recent data available, $118.2 billion was spent on home-improvement projects, down from $146 billion in the 12 months ending in March 2007 - the national peak of remodeling activity - according to a report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

One of the reasons for the price decline is competition. Most home buyers spend the most on remodeling within the first two years after purchasing a home. Not only are there fewer home sales, but also strapped home builders are seeking remodeling work, confirms David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, M.P. McQueen (10/28/2009)