It was an interesting year at Village Builders with our typically slow times of the year being our busiest and our traditionally busiest times of the year being some of our slowest times. It turned out to be a good year as a whole even with the non traditional flow of work.
The trend of Custom Homes getting larger and larger every year has not changed. Custom homes have started rising in price per sqft again after a couple of years of it leveling off with people spending their money on the size of the homes instead of the higher end finishes. So now custom homes are rising in price and size, this means that the overall final cost of custom homes is climbing with homeowners wanting not only larger homes but also extremely well finished.
The cost of the homes is rising along with the size and shape of them, this is a change from most of the previous years since the 2008 trash that completely reset the custom home building market. In most previous years homes have either gotten larger but cheaper per sqft or smaller and more expensive per sqft leaving the overall cost of most custom homes relatively the same. With the size and cost per sqft of these custom homes rising the final cost of these homes is rising as well.
Even smaller custom homes are becoming more costly as the high end unique features in custom homes are in high demand.
Custom homes are full of trends and if you know the trends in the year that they happened you should be able to tell when a custom home was built within 5 years. 2014 was no different as there were some new trends that started this year and also other longer running trends that continued into this year.
Here are the popular trends in 2014 in custom homes;
• Oak floors were by far the most popular flooring choice.
• White Oak floors where the most popular of the choices for the different types of Oak flooring available.
• Custom finished floors are the hottest trend with this giving homeowners the ability to have a personalized and ultra custom finished floor.
• Natural stone on the outside of custom homes is now the norm, even with the extra cost required to supply and install the product.
• Wood burning mason hand built Rumford fireplaces are the choice even with the added cost as they are a gathering place and a main feature in custom homes.
• Open concept is a must in custom homes. Dining rooms, kitchens and living rooms all with sight lines into each other making the homes feel bigger allowing for a more normal organic flow.
• Geothermal heating units are the norm now for homes that are in the country without access to natural gas.
• In-floor heating combined with a forced air system is almost the norm as people want the comfort of the in-floor heating but also want the forced air for the air conditioning.
• Electric air to air heat pumps have really come back in 2014 as the main heating system for homes without geothermal. This is due to the fact that last winter’s propane costs became completely out of control.
• A lot of homes are opting for vinyl windows that are coloured inside and out. This gives the look of the windows being aluminum without the higher price.
• Steel roofs are usually silver on custom homes, asphalt roofs are still continued to be installed on new homes because of the extremely low price even though they have a very short life expectancy.
• Homes are being designed with large high roof lines with architects looking for a dramatic feel from the larger roofs.
The trend of homeowners being overloaded with choices has continued and has almost grown worse as homeowners are now asking for more obscure finishes that are requiring contractors to order items that take longer and longer to be made and delivered. This is delaying the overall speed in which home builders are able to construct them.
The quality of items being produced as finishes for homes is getting worse as more and more things are being manufactured in Chine. This is making difficult to install and have a shorter life expectancy.
2014 saw Village Builders rough-in and install its first car charger for an electric car into a clients newly build custom home. This is a trend that I believe will continue into the future as electric cars grow in popularity. The electric car charger was for a Tesla, one of the most talked about electric cars on the market today.
CHANGING BUILDING CODES
There where changes to the building code that has increased the cost of homes in Ontario;
• The electrical code changed with respect to smoke detectors as smoke detectors are now
required in every bedroom and hallway. This has driven the costs of homes alone up between 1800 and 6000 dollars depending on the size of the home and the number of bedrooms.
• The building code changed with reference to insulation in homes. The amount of insulation or R value that is required in exterior walls has risen, so has the R value in the attic and the basement. This raises the cost of the home depending on the size, shape and amount of windows that are in the home.
The new insulation requirements have started to delay the granting of building permits as most custom homes that are being designed that they can’t meet the minimum code requirements. When this happens the homes must be engineered in a way that will satisfy the code and the building department.
2014 saw Village Builders part ways with our interior designer. Village Builders still does interior design and we also still design buildings. It is now all done at a sub-contractor level allowing Village Builders greater flexibility to match clients with a wider range of interior designers.
NEW AREA OF OPERATIONS-BRUCE PENINSULA
2014 saw Village Builders take on its first project after expanding their area of service to the Bruce Peninsula in 2013. This gives Village Builders the availability of servicing the main 3 sides of Georgian Bay and the East coast of Lake Huron. The Bruce Peninsula looks to be an area of extreme growth into the future and a completely different set of cottage owners.