Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 residential construction forecast for Clearview, Blue Mountain, Collingwood, Mulmur, Wasaga beach and the Bruce Peninsula

2015 residential construction forecast

The 2015 construction year looks like it will be better than the 2014 construction year. 2014 was a down year for residential construction with a lot of money and time being spent on planning, designing, buying of land and estimating only to see millions of dollars of plans shelved because of the final budgets. This year is shaping up to be a make up year, there is a lot of projects that already have approval with land and plans that could be started if the homeowners are willing to approve budgets.

There were several factors last year that contributed to the down turn in residential construction, one of the major ones was the weather. The intense winter of last year delayed the start of a lot of projects until almost the summer. Those late starting projects will now run farther into the 2015 year then they normally would have helping to create more work than normal going into this winter and spring for certain builders. Because of the delay in last spring starts with the half load restrictions there is a lot of people attempting to start projects in early to late March instead of April/May this year.

The fall season of 2014 saw an abnormal amount of people talking and planning to build homes in the early spring or summer of 2015. This is a promising sign that the residential construction season of 2015 will be a far better one then the 2014 one ended up being.

The promising construction season isn’t only for new home starts its also for renovations as well. As there was little activity in 2014 the demand for renovations seems to be coming around. One part of this is because of a stronger real estate market in home sales in 2014, a lot of people bought homes that they now require repairs and renovations too.

The overall outlook of the 2015 year isn’t going to be the strongest one but it looks to be certainly a lot better than the weak 2014 year that just passed.

Wasaga Beach

Residential construction looks to stay strong in Wasaga Beach like it has for the past couple of years. With a mix of new sub-division homes, older homes needing renovations and a growing retirement community looking for custom homes to be built there will definitely be a lot of building going on in
the town of Wasaga Beach. Last year was a little slower than in previous years but 2015 should be a return to the more robust construction season that we have seen in the past.

Wasaga Beach’s change from tourism to retirement community has become quite evident and a lot of people are now looking at Wasaga Beach as a place to retire too instead of vacation. The closer you get to the water the larger and more expensive the homes you will find being constructed. With the abundance of older homes that had been used only as run down rentals there is a push to have them removed for newer custom homes. This is happening with the town enforcing a no short term rental policy that had never previously been enforced; only areas that are designated short term rentals are now allowed to have these with everyone else facing large fines if caught. Without rental income these older run down cottages are being placed on the market for sale, this tells me that there will be an abundance of custom homes to be built in the future; not just his year.

As has been the trend in the previous year’s before 2014 you should be able to find construction in every area of Wasaga Beach, whether it is a house under renovation or a new home being built, there is lots of work to do be done in the beach.

One of the largest changes in the past couple of years has been the commercial construction market as there is a lot of new stores and commercial buildings being built in the Wasaga Beach area as more people are becoming full time residents.

Town of the Blue Mountains

As predicted the 2014 construction year was a major downturn for construction in the Town of the Blue Mountains. 2015 looks to be better with the real estate market turning over a lot of homes that will need to be either repaired, renovated or replaced.

That means that the renovation market should rebound for a healthier year in 2015 as there is still a lot of older chalets that need to be repaired or updated.

The custom home market will likely have a rebound this year but it will not be a boom by any means.
The Town of the Blue Mountains has become a place that is increasingly hard to get a new building permit. Internal politics in the township have made it harder and harder to work through the many steps and levels to receive your permit to build homes or attempt renovations to existing homes.

A lot of the current residential construction is happening in a couple of the big developments that are in the Town of the Blue Mountains. These larger developments are not roaring by any stretch of the imagination but they are moving along constructing new homes in a regular manner.

Most of the commercial development is still being constructed around the Blue Mountain resort. There is a lot of commercial property that is sitting on the real estate market waiting for the right developer.

Town of Collingwood  

The biggest possibility of growth in the Town of Collingwood is the commercial sector. There is commercial construction going on all over the Town of Collingwood and the potential for more is almost staggering as there are plenty of projects in design or in the approval process.

The custom home market is limited at best as most existing homes in Collingwood are usually renovated or restored, this leaves the building of custom homes to small areas of the town and as in fill in the older neighbourhoods.

With the emergence of all kinds of contractors almost over night homeowners in Collingwood should be careful who they hire to work on their homes as there is a lot of poor under insured and under skilled contractors running around.

With the endless migration of baby boomers out of Toronto to the Collingwood area the construction whether it is commercial or renovations looks fairly healthy for this year and possibly the next.

Township of Mulmur

Mulmur township has been the place that has seen the biggest amount of growth compared with most of the other areas. The real estate market hasn’t risen as fast as a lot of the other places and that has allowed people to purchase land and older homes at a reduced rate. This is helping to create a strong residential building market in the Township. Property is being bought up for the construction of second homes and a lot of older homes are being renovated.

There are large custom homes being constructed in a lot of the small back roads around the township as people are looking for privacy with there country estates.

The reason for this growth is the proximity to Toronto as it is a much shorter commute it you don’t require to be in the Collingwood or town of the Blue Mountains.

Commercial development is almost nonexistent in the township as it is sparely populated with only small hamlets and villages.

Look for this area to have a banner year in 2015 and also in the years going forward.

Township of Clearview (Creemore)

The Township of Clearview historically has been the black hole of construction whether it is residential or commercial. Most of this was due to the municipalities refusal to allow development and also there extremely high building fees.

The building fees have been reduced for new homes (especially in the rural area’s) and there is a newly elected council that is promising change so that Clearview will appear open for business. Time will only tell if they are true to their word as Clearview Township is one of the few places in Southern Ontario with a negative growth rate.

The real estate market is especially high in Clearview this is going to be a roadblock to the construction industry in the township. There really isn’t a lot of turnover of homes in the township because of the high prices being asked.

Commercial and Residential construction looks to be slow in 2015, it might be slightly higher than the rate of 2014 but not much.

Most of the building that is going on is of large private custom homes in the hills of Creemore and
Devils Glen Ski Club. Other then these two small area’s the township is fairly quiet when it comes to residential construction.

The Bruce Peninsula

The Bruce Peninsula is experiencing a face lift with a lot of older cottages being sold to younger families. This turnover is creating a fairly healthy residential construction climate.

Though there is not a lot of new custom homes and cottages being constructed in the Bruce Peninsula the constructing of secondary buildings like bunkies and garages is fairly brisk. The Bruce Peninsula is a fairly large area that is sparsely populated.

Renovations of all levels are happening with the turnover of cottages, younger people want their cottages to be brighter and more functional then the older darker rustic cottages were that they purchased. This should create a healthy renovation market in 2015.

The Bruce Peninsula construction market should be healthy with lots of work for everyone that works in the area.

The Overall View of Things

The market should be better than the surprised extreme downturn of construction that surprised everyone in 2014. 2015 will not be a banner year but it should be better then 2014 as there seems to be a pent up demand for building services that should be released in the coming years.

One of the most disturbing trends in residential construction is the tire kickers, many people are looking for plans and estimates on new homes and renovations but once they see what the cost is they walk away from it leaving projects sitting on the contractors table. This year was the worst we've ever seen for this as 70% of the projects (new homes and renovations) that we priced in 2014 were cancelled once they saw how much it would cost.

The reason for this is peoples wants has far exceeded there budgets and there doesn’t seem to be any room for compromise with homeowners, homeowners will refuse to do the project instead of adjusting their budgets and compromising on certain items in the home. The actual demand for the construction of homes has not reached critical as homeowners still believe that they can wait to have their project done later even though the prices will not come down they will only go up.

Eventually the dam will break and there will be a flood of construction to fill the pent up demand, when this happens prices will sore and it will be extremely difficult to find qualified contractors to meet the demands. When this will happen is anyone's guess, it could start this year or the next.

What is clear is that the amount of potential work that is sitting on the side lines in limbo seems to be reaching a staggering amount. The question is if it ends up being released all at once or over a longer time frame is anyone's guess.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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