Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

Renovators staying busy across Canada, CHBA Pulse Survey says

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Once again, bathrooms and kitchens were the most requested projects during the past year

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association has released the highlights of its Annual Pulse Survey of its new home builders and renovator members.

New home builders remain concerned about the cost of serviced lots and development charges. The survey was conducted in December 2012 and January 2013 with the assistance of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Natural Resources Canada.

New home builders expect about 197,300 housing starts this year, down from 214,800 last year. Fewer starts are expected in all provinces except Manitoba where new home builders see a marginal increase.

The forecast for 2013 housing starts is generally in line with long-term demographic requirements for housing.  The projection of 197,350 would result in the second strongest year in the last five, above the levels of 190,000 in 2010 and 194,000 in 2011.

Employment in the home building industry will remain at, or above, current levels, according to the Pulse Survey. One third of all respondents expect to hire more workers over the year while 60 per cent expect their workforce to stay at current levels. Forty-seven per cent of new home builders in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta expect more jobs this year.


Renovators report increases in activity in the past year – more than one third say they are busier today than a year ago. Many expect the pace to continue over the next year.

Bathroom and kitchen renovations, energy-efficient improvements and complete interior or exterior renovations were the projects most requested during the last year.

More than a quarter of renovators say the underground economy  — tax cheaters  operating on the basis of cash transactions —  will remain a critical problem.

The survey reports that the price of new, single-detached homes will rise in all provinces except British Columbia where 40 per cent of new home builders expect lower prices.

A total of 342 new home builders and renovators responded to the 46th Pulse Survey. Results were tabulated and analyzed for the CHBA by Altus Group Economic Consulting.

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) is the national voice of the residential construction industry, representing more than 8,000 member firms across the country. Membership comprises new home builders, renovators, developers, trade contractors, building material manufacturers and suppliers, lenders and other professionals in the housing sector.

For a copy of the Pulse 2013 Annual Survey, including regional breakdowns, please contact David Humphreys at (613) 230-3155 or email,


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