Too many renovators live like Rodney Dangerfield
The home improvement sector in Canada is worth $72-billion a year. We dwarf sectors like aerospace - or even pharmaceuticals. So why do we get so little respect?
By Steve Payne
The renovation boom continues. In its annual report on the size of our industry, Toronto-based Altus Group, a real estate consulting firm, says that Canadians spent almost $72-billion on home improvements last year.
That’s just home improvements, mind you. The new homes industry hit some $54 billion in revenues last year. Gone are the days when the giant new homes sector dwarfed the “hook and ladder” business of basement, kitchen and bathroom renovations. Now the industry that rips it out and rebuilds it is much bigger than the development industry.
So if, like me, you get bored of hearing how high tech industries like aerospace are where Canada’s job future lies, you will know its not entirely true. Canada’s aerospace sector has revenues in the $28-billion range, just 40 per cent of the size of the home improvement industry. Even a huge industry like prescription drugs ($25 billion a year) is small compared to our industry.
So the next time you read about another big handout from Ottawa in the hundreds of millions of dollars to an aerospace firm like Bombardier, which can’t even deliver, on time, the streetcars it has been contracted to build for the City of Toronto, ask yourself the Rodney Dangerfield question.
As an industry, why can’t we get any respect?
Based on the size of our contribution to the nation’s GDP, we ought to be seeing governments falling all over themselves to help our sector. Or at least staying out of our way.