Home ren­o­va­tions con­tinue to be in de­mand

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - HOMES - By Mike Moore

REN­O­VA­TION spend­ing in Canada has in­creased ev­ery year for the past 15 years and shows no sign of slow­ing down any­time soon with an­nual in­creases ex­ceed­ing three per cent an­tic­i­pated for the next two years. Last year, Cana­di­ans spent $63.4 bil­lion on ren­o­va­tions, more than dou­ble the num­ber in 1998.

What has caused this in­crease? Some have at­trib­uted it to the HGTV fac­tor. Un­til we watched all of these ren­o­va­tion and de­sign shows, we had no idea how badly we wanted new kitchens and bath­rooms. Of course, in Man­i­toba, we can say the same thing about our Spring and Fall Pa­rades of Homes and our two con­sumer trade shows. (Kitchen Bath and Ren­o­va­tion Show, Home Ex­pres­sions Show). In ad­di­tion, low in­ter­est and mort­gage rates and ris­ing home val­ues made var­i­ous home im­prove­ments en­tic­ing.

More than 40 per cent of Cana­di­ans use a se­cured line of credit to fi­nance this­work. Just un­der 20 per cent re­fi­nance a mort­gage and 15 per cent use an un­se­cured line of credit.

The big­gest in­crease in type of ren­o­va­tion project over the past year was in en­ergy ef­fi­ciency im­prove­ments, closely fol­lowed by bath­rooms and kitchens. The big­gest de­creases were in con­ver­sions from non-res­i­den­tial to res­i­den­tial, cre­at­ing a home-based busi­ness of­fice and bed­rooms. Base­ments/rec rooms, additional suites and ac­ces­si­bil­ity were es­sen­tially un­changed.

Al­berta is ex­pected to grow by five per cent per year in ren­o­va­tion spend­ing for the next two years. On­tario and Que­bec ac­count for the ma­jor­ity of spend­ing in Canada; how­ever, Que­bec’s cur­rent econ­omy may cur­tail some spend­ing. Sur­pris­ingly enough, Bri­tish Columbia andMan­i­toba, al­though strong in spend­ing, did not in­crease at the same rate as the rest of the coun­try last year. In B.C., the re­ver­sion to the PST/GST sys­tem from the HST cre­ated some con­fu­sion and so all spend­ing was down. InMan­i­toba, the one per cent in­crease in PST on July 1 likely slowed spend­ing in the sec­ond half of the year.

As Canada’s hous­ing stock continues to in­crease and age, ren­o­va­tion­swill al­ways be in de­mand.

Mike Moore is the pres­i­dent of the Man­i­toba Home Builders’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

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