Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 forecast for constuction in the Collingwood, Creemore and Wasaga beach area

Residential construction forecast for the Collingwood, Creemore and Wasaga beach area for 2012
The residential construction industry is on a rollercoaster from one month to the next depending on where you live in Ontario. Places like the muskoka’s where builders have enjoyed having multi-year waiting lists are looking at a spring with no work and no leads on future work. The market has shifted away from second homes and cottages.
The only market that seems stable outside of Toronto is Home Building for Baby Boomers. What is happening is Baby Boomers living in Toronto are looking to start retiring and want to do that outside of Toronto. They are sitting on their retirement fund. House prices in Toronto have been on the rise for decades and are even know staying high. This is allowing Baby Boomers to buy property in the Collingwood area and build custom homes of all shapes and sizes. Once they are ready to retire they simply sell their home that is mortgage free and retire to Collingwood paying off the mortgage on their new home.
This is not just happening in the Collingwood, this is happening all over Ontario. Even as far north as the Sault St. Marie area builders are reporting Baby Boomers moving in and building or renovating homes to retire into.
Because of this, the market for residential construction is somewhat stable in these retirement areas. It is not growing but it is not shrinking either. Depending on the township, there is to be expected a fair bit of work for qualified and experienced contractors that have an established name. The newer contractors in the area will find it hard to get work in 2012 as was the trend in 2011. There just isn’t enough work to go around for all the “custom home builders” or those who call themselves that.
Wasaga Beach
Places such as Wasaga Beach will see the best growth in the area. Wasaga Beach’s residential construction has been steadily growing every year for the past 3 or 4 years since the credit crunch and stock market crash of 2008. Property anywhere near the water and the beach is being bought up by people looking to retire. The rising tax’s are forcing a lot of people that have owned small little cottages in Wasaga Beach for generations to sell them or tear down and rebuild with a new home. There is huge potential for growth in this area with whole streets having small cottages that are at the end of their life and need to be replaced. Property values in Wasaga Beach continue to rise year over year, prompting many to sell their family cottages instead of fixing them. Wasaga Beach has turned from the tourist area and is now actively promoting itself as a retirement community for the Baby Boomer generation. Enforcement of strict rental rules for seasonal cottages are having a serious effect on the market, pushing more families to sell their cottage as they are having trouble bringing in enough income to justify keeping it.
Clearview Township
Clearview Township will struggle in the residential construction sector like it has for the past couple of years. It seems this market will only get worse, as land prices in the township continue to rise and so does the taxes. Building and development fees are now at an all time high, to the point where it is scaring away people that want to build a new home. No effort is being made in the Township to help curve this trend and it looks like they are determined to only allow people with deep pockets into the area that can afford to pay the massive fees. The fees are so suppressive that subdivision development has all but ground to a halt. Only well established contractors seem to be able to get what little work there is in this township. The renovation market has all but dried up as well in the Clearview Township area.
Collingwood/Blue Mountain area
The Collingwood/Blue Mountain area seems to be spotty at best. Some places in the area have 2 or 3 houses being built on one street, where other areas have no building or renovating at all. A lot of this seems to have to do with the stalled real estate market. Homes in the Collingwood market have been going up year over year and still sell. 2011 was different with house prices dropping, but homeowners who were selling refused to follow the trend keeping their selling price high, thus stalling the market with a large inventory of houses coming on the market and not much selling. When the market corrects itself the renovation end of the construction industry should come back fairly well in 2012. At the moment the renovation end of things is very slow. A lot of contractors that rely on the renovation market to get them through between house builds are having trouble finding any work at all.
The prospect for growth for 2012 in the Collingwood area could be very good, there seems to be a lot of commercial work running into 2012 and more commercial projects to be started in 2012. Collingwood is looking like it could experience extreme growth in the coming decade. Most of this growth will be of Baby Boomers moving into the area, but there are also a lot of young professionals moving in to fill all the jobs that need to be done with this ever growing and aging population.
The Collingwood area trend of builders coming in from other areas to find work will continue and might even get worse in 2012 as the prospect of bigger homes and cottages is a powerful draw.
                Overall 2012 looks to be a better year than 2011 in the new home market, the renovation market still looks shaky and could go either way. There looks to be in the late winter and early spring a bump in new home starts in all areas because of the new building codes. A lot of people put in for their building permits earlier then they wanted to so that they could beat the new regulations. The new regulations will see the cost of building go up by a minimum 10% and could be as much as 30% depending on what standard you will have to raise the building too. The new building regulations take effect on January 1st 2012 and any plans drawn in 2011 will have to go through some serious changes to meet the new code. So this should help the construction industry for the early part of the year, but with this new code it might slow down permits and applications over the whole year. After the spring it might be hard to pick up new projects in 2012.
The new codes will have a major impact on the renovation market, as the code will be a lot more restrictive and expensive for homeowners to receive permission to renovate and complete their projects. The renovation market was slower than normal going into this year and this could slow it to almost a halt. It might get the same bump that the new home starts will be getting with people getting there permits before the code change, but the 2nd half of the year might be very difficult for renovators.
Overall it looks to be an up and down year for the residential construction industry in the Collinwood, Wasaga beach and Creemore area. Competition for new homes looks to continue to be high with everyone trying to stay busy.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.  

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