Faced with the reality that they might not be able to sell their homes anytime in the near future, more homeowners are choosing to remodel.

According to the BuildFax Remodeling Index, residential remodeling activity in May was at its highest since the index was created in 2004. May marked the nineteenth straight month of year-over-year gains, with the index climbing 22% over the same period last year.

"Even with the continued struggles in the economy, the remodeling industry has been a bright spot, as consumers look to make upgrades to their current homes, rather than purchasing a new residence," Joe Emison, vice president of research and development at BuildFax, said in a press release Monday. "Based on the trends from the first months of this year, we expect to continue seeing strong gains from coast to coast."

Month-over-month, activity increased the most in the Midwest (18%), followed by the Northeast (12%). The Midwest, however, lags other regions in year-over-year performance, with the region experiencing an 11% decline in remodeling activity from May 2010. Activity in all other regions increased year-over-year, with the Northeast up 9%, the South up 10% and the West up 21%.

The index incorporates information derived from building permits filed with local building departments across the country. The BuildFax database covers more than 60% of the U.S. commercial and residential building stock with 6 million data points.