*For Full story visit https://rdnewsnow.com/2021/04/12/home-renovations-a-steady-business-in-central-alberta-during-the-pandemic/
Central Albertans appear to be joining their fellow Canadians in considering an upgrade to their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a year of the world-wide health crisis, according to findings from the 2021 Scotiabank Housing Poll, Canadian homeowners are more likely to plan renovations than buy and sell their current property or purchase an investment home, despite an active housing market.
The Scotiabank poll revealed six in 10 Canadian homeowners are planning to renovate in the next two years, with backyards, kitchens and bathrooms topping the list. Regionally, plans for renovations are highest in the prairie provinces, with 70 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and 62 per cent in Alberta.
Dustin and Crystal Marin, owners of Marin Construction & Renovation Ltd in Penhold, say the number of estimates being requested locally, has certainly been higher in recent months.
“We’ve seen a large increase in estimates, we’ve seen a large increase also in small-scale, independent contractors as well, says Dustin. “Typically, we see a slow-down from January to March if anything, and it picks back up in April.”
“I would say overall, sales have stayed pretty steady compared to previous years,” adds Crystal. “They haven’t drastically increased, but we haven’t not-worked. We’ve stayed busy this year for sure.”
In terms of living spaces being renovated most often, Dustin admits kitchens and bathrooms are getting a lot of attention in central Alberta.
“Sometimes it’s just a tub replacement and then a full bathroom, but it’s all over the place – honestly,” says Dustin. “I’d say the smallest one would be anywhere from the $4,000 to $15,000 range on these bathrooms.”
The Marin’s also acknowledge an impact that the housing market has on the home renovation industry.
“A lot of times when it’s a buyer’s market, people are trying to get their renovations as part of their mortgage,” explains Crystal. “So I’ll do quite a few estimates with people trying to see what it’s going to cost to fix that kitchen they don’t like in their new home. When it’s a seller’s market, you don’t see a whole lot of that.”
Crystal notes, however, that the pandemic has been anything but ‘business as usual’.
“We’ve had to adapt and make changes to how we operate things and our safety policy,” she points out. “When the pandemic started, like anybody else, you didn’t know how to move forward with projects, and customers were scared to move forward with their projects as well. Could we show up or did we have to stop construction in the middle of it?”
“The original shut-down was huge,” remarks Dustin. “It basically prevented us from working for two months plus, and the uncertainty of the customers wondering if they were going to lose their job. The early stages, it was huge to go to a basement development estimate and try to follow up with it and some lost their jobs in between from measure to follow up, and it was really tough.”
Crystal says the supply chain has also been impacted by the pandemic.
“Common materials that we need aren’t always available or you have to give three or four weeks for it to come in,” says Crystal. “The average material costs have almost more than doubled or increased by two-and-a-half times at least, so that’s been interesting to discuss with customers as well.”
As a result of the rising prices for many materials, the Marins suggest there’s no time like the present to get a renovation done.
“I would say to definitely research the contractors. There is lots of small-scale, independent companies that have started up, so you want to make sure they have proper credentials and you’re not going to be left in the dust if they decide to take your money and run.”
Visit Marin Construction & Renovation Ltd for more information.
by Sheldon Spackman