The BuildFax Residential Remodeling Index — which is based on the number of construction permits requested for the purpose — jumped 22.8 percent from December 2010 to December 2011.

Check out the handy chart below. You can see the annual cycle of remodeling — up in the spring and summer, down in the winter — but look at the jump starting in early 2011 and continuing throughout the year:

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A few things to keep in mind:

1. We really can’t say what it means. Are people remodeling because they’ve given up the idea of buying (say, to upgrade)? Are they preparing for a sale? Do they simply have money laying around?

2. The index measures permits, so it doesn’t cover smaller jobs where permits aren’t necessary (or my old neighbors, who weren’t about to ask anyone for permission to build, dagnabit!). But it’s a safe assumption that non-permit work tracks the larger stuff.

Click here to read more about it over at Calculated Risk.