Renovations Slow Down in Quebec

Renovations slow down in Quebec

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After having reached its peak in 2009, home renovation slows down in Quebec, according to a report by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

While 47% and 45% of the people living in Quebec City and Montreal respectively reported spending some money to renovate their home in 2009, these figures dropped to 42% and 38% last year.

The reason renovation slows down in Quebec

This downward trend in renovation projects, however, is not exclusively observed in the province of Quebec. In fact, all Canadian provinces have suffered a significant decrease in the number of households declaring having performed alterations or improvements to their home over the past two years.

The nationwide average of homeowner households indicating actual spending on renovations indeed fell from a high 50% in 2009 to a modest 37% in 2011. Potentially explaining this plummet in statistics across the country is the Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC).

This program, which came into effect in 2009 to stimulate economic activity during the crisis, allowed Canadians a 15% tax credit for renovation expenditures totalling between $1,000 and $10,000. The HRTC lasted only one year, however, and expired at the beginning of 2010. Its cessation probably had a considerable influence on many citizens’ decision not to spend on home renovation in these times of worldwide economic turmoil.

Quebec renovation remain more active

Despite the generalized slowing down trend across the country, Quebec nevertheless seems to be doing a little better than most of its neighbors. In fact, Quebec City was the second most active metropolitan area in Canada last year in terms of residential renovation, whereas Montreal ranked fifth. The Rénoclimat program Quebec has been offering since 2006 could be partly responsible for this activity.

Quebec City’s and Montreal’s statuses ought to be regarded with caution, however, since both remain among the urban centers where the people who renovate spend the least money on their home alterations and improvements, only beating Halifax and Winnipeg. In a nutshell, the fact that more Quebecois renovate does not mean that they spend more than other Canadians when they do so.

It is also worth noting that 95% of the Canadians who reported having renovated their home last year actually did some room remodelling, whereas 54% did some painting or wallpapering. In contrast, only 38% did some work related to plumbing and 27% replaced windows or doors. Overall, improvements and alterations were far more popular than repair and maintenance. Decoration and design endeavors thus represent the most common renovation projects of Canadians.

The prospect for Montrealers and renovations

The Canadian decline of renovation projects should continue throughout the current year, and Montreal is likely to be affected as well. When surveyed last year about their intentions for 2012, only 37% of Montrealers reported that they project to renovate their home, only ahead of Vancouver inhabitants (34%).

Probably more worrying is the fact that Montrealers also were the ones who reported that they have the least confidence in actually being able to carry out their projected renovations. This could be a sign that money does not abound or that economic incertitude fosters vigilance. One way or the other, we will have to wait until 2013 before we get the full picture of what has happened this year in terms of renovations.

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