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Manitoba Leads in Canadian Home Renovations

30 May 2012

Home renovations are a great way to add value onto a house or turn it into the dream home the owner has always envisioned. But as people start to pay down their debt in Canada and start taking on fewer renovations, Manitoba still leads the way and are taking on just as many renovations as they had in past years. This comes from a survey recently conducted for the Bank of Montreal.

That survey showed that approximately 67 per cent of homeowners in Manitoba and Saskatchewan have plans to make some kind of renovations this year – that’s only slightly down from the 68 per cent that they had an eye on renos last year. But while homeowners in these provinces may be gung-ho to make changes to their homes, renovations are slowing down in other parts of the country. Stats for the rest of the nation went down, with an average of only 51 per cent saying that they were planning on home renovations. That number is down from the 62 per cent that the same survey showed last year.

So why so little change in Manitoba? “Manitoba has always been the Canadian leader in home renovations,” says Mike Moore, MHBA President. “We may not spend as much as they do in some other regions, but we do more renovating.”

One reason, says Ralph Fyfe, Century 21 Bachman & Associates Realtor, is because many owners are trying to put value into their home before they sell. “They’re trying to get that top dollar out of their house. If that means spending $10,000 or $15,000 to get an extra $20,000 or $25,000 for their home, that’s what they’re doing.” Fyfe also explained that most Manitoba buyers want a move-in ready home that requires little or no work on their part, and sellers know this when they put their house on the market.

Laura Parsons, BMO Manager of Mortgage Sales, also points to the low cost of borrowing as one reason for so little change in Manitoba’s renos. She says that low interest rates on home equity lines of credit and home equity loans make renovations much more affordable, and profitable, for homeowners. She also says that the large inventory of smaller, older homes is another reason why Manitoba sees so many renovations.

And builders and developers are seeing it, too. “None of our members are seeing any slowdown at all,” said Brad Sveinson, co-owner of Character Homes Ltd. “Some of us are already taking bookings for next year.”

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