Home Renovations Spending to increase in British Columbia

February 11th 2011
Home Renovations Spending to increase in British Columbia

There are nearly two million private dwellings in B.C. and, sooner or later, the homeowners will decide it's time to undertake some home improvements - from minor repairs to major makeover.

According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., (CMHC) the investment is significant. Last year, $7.3 billion was spent on home repair, improvement and renovation in B.C. This year, renovation spending is expected to rise 7.7 per cent to $7.8 billion, more than half of that activity in Metro Vancouver.

For the past 16 years, the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association (GVHBA) Renovation Council has presented popular two-hour seminars on home renovation.

The free seminars are sponsored by BC Hydro, CMHC and Terasen Gas. Canada Revenue Agency and WorkSafeBC representatives also attend to counsel homeowners of the perils of the underground economy and dealing with contractors not covered by workplace insurance.

"The nearly 300 homeowners who attended the most recent seminar were guided through the various aspects of the renovation process, including design and planning, legal and contracts, selecting a renovator, municipal permits and inspections, and living through a renovation," said GVHBA Chair and seminar moderator Todd Senft.

Attendees were asked to complete a questionnaire. Following is a summary of the survey responses.

- 74 per cent of the respondents indicated they were planning to renovate within 12 months. 29 per cent said 12-18 months; 11 per cent said 18-24 months; 12 per cent said more than 24 months.

- 36 per cent said their decision to renovate their homes has been affected by the introduction of the HST, while 64 per cent said their decision has not been affected by HST.

- Of the respondents who indicated the HST will affect their decision to renovate, 22 per cent said they will reduce their renovation budget; 21 per cent said they will complete their renovation in stages; 19 per cent said they would postpone their renovation; 11 per cent indicated they would do some work themselves; 11 per cent said the HST will cause them to increase their renovation budget.

- 18 per cent indicated a contractor had offered them a discount in exchange for cash; 12 per cent said they have offered to pay cash to a contractor in exchange for a discount.

- 24 per cent plan to renovate kitchens; 24 per cent, bathrooms; 8 per cent, whole house; 8 per cent, exterior; 7 per cent, basement; 7 per cent, family room; 2 per cent, secondary suite.

- 12 per cent plan to spend less than $10,000 on renovations; 45 per cent, $10,000 to $50,000; 18 per cent, $50,000 to $100,000; 11 per cent, $100,000 to $150,000; 5 per cent, $150,000 to $200,000; 2 per cent, $200,000 to $250,000; 7 per cent, more than $250,000.

- 76 per cent indicated they plan to hire a contractor to do the work, while 97 per cent of that group will definitely or might consider hiring a RenoMark contractor. RenoMark is an industry-led program designed to provide greater confidence to homeowners when hiring contractors. To be accepted into the program, contractors are obliged to abide by a 10-condition code of conduct.

- 72 per cent indicated it is very important to have a signed contract before the contractor starts the renovation; 20 per cent, important; 7 per cent, somewhat important; 1 per cent, not important.

- 76 per cent indicated they will not require financing for their renovations.

- 25 per cent indicated reputation/references/project examples were important considerations when choosing a contractor; 15 per cent, prices/budgets; 11 per cent, honesty/trust.

- 94 per cent said they will consider Energy Star when they purchase new appliances.

- 54 per cent indicated they were aware of provincial LiveSmart incentives for energy upgrades.

- 9 per cent were aware of CMHC's Equilibrium Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative. An Equilibrium house is currently under construction in Burnaby.

- The respondents indicated they plan to install the following natural gas appliances as part of their renovations: 28 per cent, range/cooktop; 20 per cent, furnace/boiler; 20 per cent, fireplace; 16 per cent, water heater; 8 per cent, clothes dryer; 7 per cent, barbecue.

- The respondents are planning the following energy upgrades during the next 12 months: 24 per cent, windows; 18 per cent, insulation; 14 per cent, draftproofing.

- 48 per cent wanted to find out how to renovate to control energy loss through windows and doors.

- 31 per cent indicated they wanted to learn how to improve a home's indoor air quality.

- 27 per cent of the respondents wanted information on how to make their homes more adaptable to address changing mobility needs.

- 48 per cent of the respondents indicated they will definitely include energy-efficient or green technology in their renovation plans, while 44 per cent said they would consider including it.

For more information visit www.gvhba.org