The downturn in the world economy was brutal to the U.S. homebuilding industry but was kinder to the home improvement sector. This is because Americans are cautiously fixing up their homes with the idea of resale so there is still modest activity in this sector of the market.
Canadians, on the other hand, were not hit as hard as their southern neighbours and, in most areas, their homes retained a large amount of their value. Not only that the Home Renovation Tax Credit of 2009 provided a further cushioning of the home improvement sector. This both gave homeowners a 15% return at tax time on all renovations completed before February 1st, 2009 it also through a wrench into the underground economy. So how are Canadians facing the post-tax credit era?
1. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Retrofit Program
Canadian homeowners are renovating despite the downturn in the economy but the "bigger is better" mentality has been left behind. In fact, extensive retrofitting can reap great benefits. Home-owners may qualify for up to $10,000 in federal and provincial grants and more green home renovation grants are available through the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) ecoENERGY Retrofit program. This has spurred homeowners to renovate beyond the Home Renovation Tax Credit by retrofitting their homes with green improvements.
2. Exterior Siding
Another renovation tend for 2010 is fixing up the exterior of the home. However, rather than spending large amounts on landscaping, or big ticket items such as an in-ground swimming pool, homeowners are making high-end, cosmetic changes to the exteriors of their home. Quality exterior products such as fiber-cement siding and treated wood clapboards are popular as is repairing and painting stucco finishes. Vinyl and treated-wood trim is also popular. These parts come pre-painted and will last the lifetime of the home.
3. Entry Doors
Changing the front entry door can revolutionize the curb appeal of a home. This is because the first object that a prospective buyer sees after sizing up the look of the neighbourhood is the entrance and pathway to the front door. While expensive fiberglass doors used to be the norm for front entranceways many homeowners are rediscovering the new steel door systems as they are just as realistic as natural wood. In addition, the lites of the new steel doors come with low-E and argon-filled glass as do the side-lites. This helps in keeping energy costs down and makes the door eligible for an energy rebate..
It used to be that windows were an expensive item in renovating. However, new manufacturing techniques and materials have lowered the price of windows dramatically. No only that, the rebate programs can give a homeowners up to $70 back per window plus:
- Makes the home more sellable.
- Energy-saving through Low E and Argon models
- Maintenance-free units
- Additional energy grants and tax credits
One of the best and cheapest ways to add living space to your home is by building a deck. A new deck can cost as little as $1500 and provide a great selling feature for a home.
6. Home Offices
The idea of a home office is not new but new technology has revolutionized the home office so that the homeowner-user can roam around the house and look at screens in every room. This can mean that lounges in the tub the bathroom and making meals in the kitchen can be included in conference calling.
7. Home Offices
One trend that has continued to grow over the past twenty years is the home office. The downsizing of the economy has promoted more homeowners to avoid the long and expensive commutes and conduct their business from home. This includes self-employed homeowners as well as those who receive benefits from companies to conduct business from home.
8. Bold Interiors
A journey back to the 1970's will show bold colouring like reds and deep blues. Today, new paint schemes and appliance colours resurrects this vivid era.
9. Green Fixtures
Green products for self-sufficiency and preservation of the earth are becoming very popular as more homeowners are seeking to lessen their "carbon footprint." Flooring products made from bamboo and cork are very popular as are natural fibers like wool and grasses for carpets and wallpaper. Water-saving toilets and landscaping root watering systems lessen the need for water.
10. Attic, Garage and Basement Space
Homeowners who want more living space without heavy renovation costs are looking up to the attic, down to the basement and out into the garage. The lure of these spaces is that most of the utilities are right at hand and renovations can be accomplished in stages.
For more information on new renovation trends consult our Contractor Directory or simply post your project online.Posted by: Kim Kinrade