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Sawdac Newsletter: Fall 2023

October 19, 2023  By Jennifer Beingessner

And low score goes to (from left)... Greg Stockdale, Tosha Yantzi, Ryan Uttley and Barry Jantzi from Beingessner Home Exteriors, with SAWDAC executive director Jason Neal handing out the prizes.

SAWDAC held its annual golf tournament at Turtle Creek Golf Club in Guelph, Ont., on Sept. 21, with over 120 members and friends einjoying perfect weather and outstanding conditions. This event fills up faster every year! Participants took part in the 18-hole scramble with special contests like a closest-to-the-bottle putting test and closest-to-the-keg drive hole, plus a chance to take a drive from Canadian long-drive champion, Ryan Gregnol.

The traditional roast pork dinner followed the day of golf with executive director Jason Neal handing out prizes and announcing $1,200 raised for KidsAbility through the 50/50 raffle and other events. Huge thanks to our generous sponsors, Consumer Direct Windows and Doors, Vinyl Window Designs, Vinylbilt Window Systems, Federated Insurance, Kennedy Insurance, Strassburger Window Systems, Darcy and Associates, Fenestration Canada, Tremco and Financeit.

Neal’s Notes
Our members across Canada are reporting some economic headwinds. Economic growth and confidence has shifted to one of hold-and-see, creating a downward trend of 10 to 20 percent for the back half of the 2023 year and into mid-2024. Leads are drying up, as well as closing rates as economic growth continues to slow with high interest rates and low consumer confidence.  Homeowners are more likely to invest in home renovations once they start to “see some light at the end of the tunnel,” as one dealer said.

Employment levels have dropped as the exponential growth of the population far exceeds the creation of new job opportunities, resulting in a 0.5 percent increase in the national unemployment rate, reaching 5.5 percent. I know, I know, for months we have heard that everyone needs employees, both here at the office and on the road.  What we see forecasted might be false as Canada takes in more immigrants than jobs available, which seems to not have affected our industry.  When employment levels come back down, we will see homeowners more inclined to invest in renovation projects.

The Bank of Canada held interest rates unchanged in its September update. Good news, since lower interest rates can make financing home renovations more reasonable, as homeowners can access cheaper credit through loans or refinancing options, such as using our RenoPlan program. The state of the housing market is down, which can impact home renovations. Currently, 464,239 properties are forecast to trade hands via Canadian MLS systems in 2023, a 6.8 percent decline from 2022. In a seller’s market with rising property values, homeowners may renovate to increase their home’s resale value. However, we can see from this evidence that that isn’t going to be happening for a while. Government policies and incentives, such as tax credits, grants or rebates for energy-efficient renovations, can stimulate the home renovations sector but we are not seeing that through our dealer network. These incentives often encourage homeowners to invest in improvements that align with government priorities, such as energy efficiency, but not what the consumer actually wants or can afford.

Fluctuations in material prices and labour costs are impacting our dealers as quotes from a year ago have increased from 15 to 40 percent and are drying up the sales funnels.  

Seems gloomy, doesn’t it?  We can say this, though, from talking with dealers and manufacturers: you are a resilient group and have always found a way to make it through the low times and come out thriving on the other end.  Seems like the perfect time to break the status quo!  

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