In recent years, the residential construction industry has undergone an unprecedented growth, and it’s noteworthy that the province of Quebec has contributed more than ever to the record construction surge.
The relentless pace, which month after month continues to confound the experts, will, sooner or later, experience an inevitable slowdown. There are some very simple reasons why this will eventually occur: the rise in the cost of labour and building materials, combined with the gradual hike in mortgage rates will prompt people in this activity sector to reconsider their strategy.
While the phenomenon is still in its infancy stage, it’s been happening for the last few months from a Canadian standpoint. It’s the direct result of housing prices, which, since the beginning of the new millennium, have spiralled, often beyond 50%. Some people see that as nothing but a good thing, even though the real-estate value of their home is practically wiped out by the proportional increase in costs of buying or building a new house.
A growing number of home owners, however, prefer renovating their home, financing the work through the equity that has been built up in their property. Consequently, they avoid having to pull up stakes to go and live in a residential area that is likely to take a decade to mature from an urban development aspect.
There are myriad reasons for sake-of-change renovation, as opposed to a straightforward move into another home. Usually, the decision is made once the children have left the family nest. Then it’s a matter of re-appropriating space, with practicality and comfort of the occupants in mind, by enlarging the living room or bathroom to set up your own peaceful oasis, by adding on a solarium or by finishing off a spare room above the garage.
As residential designers, our knowledge of the housing sector and the need to oversee each of the stages one goes through in bringing a project to fruition has led us, more and more, to contribute not only to the development of plans to carry out the work, but also to play an active consulting role, thereby providing support service throughout the project, if need be.
All the more true, the renovation projects are becoming more sophisticated and expensive as lands and properties value are increasing.
It is no longer uncommon today, to turn a bungalow into a cottage and double the floor space of a home in order to maximize the value of a property located in an area in demand or on the edge of a water-course, for example. This type of transformation, we understand, requests an excellent planning for future use of space. This is the task that is increasing more and more the workload for designers and creators specialized in residential construction.
If we add other determining factors such as the scarcity of land and urban sprawl, it is likely that the decline in starts of new homes will be largely offset by the major renovation projects in the next following months.