Home remodeling activity is expected to pick up later this year, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University reported Thursday.

Stronger pending home sales and continuing low interest rates are contributing to the rise, the center reported, with annual spending on remodeling expected to end 2012 up 5.9 percent from 2011.

"Hopefully, we're finally moving beyond simple volatility in the home improvement spending numbers to a period of sustained growth," said Eric S. Belsky, the center managing director, said. "The recent upturn we've seen in home sales should translate into more remodeling activity later this year."

— Alan J. Heavens