According to the Wall Street Journal, the drop in new-home building has sparked declines in the prices of such materials as framing lumber, gypsum and plastics, shaving anywhere from 5 percent to 10 percent off renovation costs, according to economists. In an effort to generate business, custom and speculative builders increasingly are doing remodels, with experts underscoring the importance of hiring a contractor with actual remodeling experience. However, experts are urging homeowners to put off renovations if they plan on moving in the near future, as they will not be able to recoup as much of their investment as they would have during the housing boom.      EC