A Boston Globe article about the boom in residential home remodeling in the state is consistent with what I've been observing over the last year or so. People are interested in changing the character of their dwellings. In most cases these changes result in significant improvements, but I'm not sure if the longevity of these renovations will match history. If a fifty year old bathroom is replaced in the 1970's I would wager that it will see at least two or three renovations in the next fifty years. This increase in renovation frequency, if a real thing, doesn't imply that things were built or designed better in the past--the opposite is often true.
Construction costs seem to be outpacing inflation, but like many other aspects of the economy, it's not reflected in improved labor compensation. The pricing advantage seems to be with mechanical products; everything from doorknobs to windows to HVAC. I feel like there are some groups of people who are in the middle of the supply chain who are making a killing on selling stuff at extreme markups.
But hey, I'm just a paranoid, misinformed architect.