Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 review of the residential construction in the Collingwood, Town of Blue Mountains, Clearview/Creemore, Wasaga Beach, Mulmur townships and the Bruce Peninsula

2014 review of the residential construction in the Collingwood, Town of Blue Mountains, Clearview/Creemore, Wasaga Beach, Mulmur townships and the Bruce Peninsula

2014 in most areas was a slower year for custom home building and construction overall then the 2013 year, this included the renovation sector as well.

Growth that was gained in the previous year was erased this year with a downturn in the overall amount of work that was available in the industry. The market was full of “tire kickers” people with plans or who were in the market for building plans and asked for pricing on them. Once they found out the actual cost of their proposed project they cancelled the entire project outright. This is a trend that started a couple of years ago and has been getting progressively worse every year as homeowners want more in their new custom homes but don't want to pay for it.

More work was shelved this year by people with unrealistic expectations compared to their actual budgets then in any other year in recent memory. Reports from multiple companies and architects about spending more and more time pricing homes and renovations without the project moving forward once the final price has been realized.

Winter hits hard

The intense, snowy, windy and long winter that battered the province of Ontario in 2014 hurt the construction market. Homeowners decided to wait to do projects until the warmer weather arrived, that warmer weather didn't come until June/July and because of the intense winter the half loads on township roads were not lifted until late May early June. This delay in lifting the half load restrictions put many new home starts back almost two months compared to previous years. This limited the amount of work that could be completed in the 2014 construction year and caused a lot of delays as workers, homeowners and materials had trouble getting to construction sites.

Building codes change

The new building codes that were brought in last year are having an effect of slowing down the process of clients receiving their building permits as most custom homes don’t qualify under the normal insulation requirements because of the amount of windows designed into the home. This requires the home to be designed especially to meet the new building codes. The cost of these changes plus other changes like the addition of smoke detectors to every bedroom in the home is raising the overall costs to build a new home.

Review of the area's

Collingwood

The town of Collingwood has seen a lot of change in the past couple of years. They have had a lot of commercial development and some residential sub-division starts. Custom homes have been built only as fill in and around older homes, there are some semi-track semi-custom homes on the edges of Collingwood being built but not many pure custom homes are being constructed in town.

The amount of renovations that are ongoing is strong but the amount of new unqualified contractors has exploded in the town of Collingwood leaving the market flooded with contractors doing shoddy work.

The real estate market is hot and the future of the renovation market will only continue to grow.

Baby boomers are moving in to Collingwood area at record numbers and the wealth they bring with them are driving prices of renovations and new homes continually up.

Commercial construction in Collingwood is strong and this is a trend that continued from previous years. Collingwood is undergoing a face lift with a lot of older commercial structures being either renovated or torn down and rebuilt.The influx of people with wealth endlessly moving into the Collingwood area has brought the need for more commercial development creating commercial and retail projects in all area's of Collingwood.

Town of the Blue Mountains

This is one of the slowest years for the building of custom homes in the Town of the Blue Mountains. Last year was slow but this year saw most of the traditionally busy custom home builders in that area finding the pickings of new builds slim. There has also been an influx of other builders from other area’s picking up work or attempting to pick up work as other areas like the Muskoka’s are suffering though their own slow down in custom home construction.

The early snow that arrived in the area seems to have put a damper on the building starts in the fall.

The winter looks to be a slow time but there is promise of a busier spring.

Real estate markets are not as hot as they were this time last year but with the warmer winter the market could heat up in the winter selling season.

Commercial construction is slow in the township. There are several large scale home developments that are moving ahead that is creating a lot of the residential work in the township.

Wasaga Beach

Wasaga Beach has still the strongest construction growth in the area. There are new custom homes being built on every street and the amount of renovations is staggering compared to the other areas in the Georgian Triangle. With the rising taxes and the municipality pushing for more new residential and less rentals people are finding that there is a lot on the real estate market especially in the more expensive and high tax areas of town.

Commercial construction is still hot in the beach. With the rising population of baby boomers that are moving to the beach they are bringing along the stores that they are use too and the added wealth is raising the value of homes and the tax base.

There is still a lot track home subdivision building going on in the beach. This has created one of the only area's that is affordable for middle to lower middle class working people to live in the area.

Mulmur Township

Mulmur Township is one of the biggest areas of growth for renovations and custom homes compared to the historical construction trends for the township. There is a small population in Mulmur that is full of large farms and rural properties with older homes. These properties are coming on to the market more and more and being bought up by people from Toronto looking for a second home in the country. Mulmur is situated in a very unique location; it is close to the Village of Creemore, close to the City of Orangeville, has Mansfield ski club and is also closer to the big city then Collingwood or Thornbury. That means that if you have a weekend retreat in Mulmur then your commute is a lot shorter and you will not have to deal with the hustle and bustle of Collingwood and Thornbury.

The real estate market in Mulmur has stayed fairly strong with the prices of property rising year over year. The cost of rural property is still below the levels of Creemore and Thornbury allowing people to buy larger plots of land to build on. Many new custom homes are being constructed in Mulmur and it was one of the strongest areas this year.

Clearview Township/Creemore

This year was another year of slow construction in Clearview. The custom home building in the township is almost nonexistent with only large homes being built in the hills around Creemore and Devils Glen Ski Club, but even these were few and far between.

Commercial and industrial construction is slow and has always been that way as Clearview does not historically want new business. The only construction of this kind in Clearview is the expansion to the Brewery in Creemore and even that took half a decade to get permission.

2014 saw an election of a new council in Clearview, a council that claims to be more business friendly. This council is looking for growth in there township which is the complete opposite approach of the councils before them. Clearview Township is one of the few places in southern Ontario that is experiencing negative growth year to year. This new council wants to change that, we’ll see if that happens.

If this new council is able to follow through on their increased business in the township plan then construction of residential, commercial and industrial should grow. It can’t get any less as almost nothing is happening in the township and the last couple of years have seen it lose businesses to other municipalities that are more business friendly.

Bruce Peninsula

The Bruce Peninsula is sparsely populated with most of the homes that are on the water being cottages that are only used in the spring and summer months. Most of the cottages are older places that are owned by older people that are looking to sell and move on. These cottages are being sold to younger families that are looking for cottages that are in a lower price bracket then the Muskoka’s and also closer to the urban centres of London, Windsor, Kitchen and Waterloo.

This is creating a lot of work in building new garages, renovating these recently sold cottages and in a growing amount of places the tearing down of cottages and replacing them with new ones.

There is construction on every little road in the Bruce Peninsula this fall and winter.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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