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Last year’s surge in pool installations expected to spill over into 2017

The 2016 installation season—thanks in part to an extremely hot summer—rewarded pool builders with one of the best years on record, which many are saying will also keep them busy for much of 2017.

Despite a slow start to the 2016 pool installation season the industry can thank Mother Nature for one of the warmest and most relentless summers on record, resulting in the third most pool permit registrations in the last five decades.

Once again, there were extreme weather differences experienced between Eastern and Western Canada—some provinces experienced a long, cold winter, while for others (especially in the west) it was warm and dry from the onset. However, according to the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS-SCMO), the period between December 2015 and November 2016 was the fourth warmest in 70 years of record-keeping.

“Generally, 2016 was a bounce-back year for much of the pool industry across most of the country,” says Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada (PHTCC) executive director, Robert Wood. “Prolonged hot weather generated high interest and demand. There were a couple of notable exceptions, however. Alberta’s market remained relatively soft due to ongoing economic woes and, for some unexplained reason, the traditionally strong market for above-ground pools in Quebec took a step backward.

“We could be witnessing a change in consumer trends in Quebec, mirroring tendencies in the rest of Canada,” he says. “Nevertheless, 2016 will be remembered as a bumper year for the pool sector.”

Thanks to the blistering hot weather and the consumer’s willingness to invest in their backyards, pool builders were kept busy for much of the year—even into November—and, as a result, 22 per cent more permits were registered in 2016 than the year prior. When comparing last year to 2015, it was a tale of two seasons. While there was a resurgence in pool installations in Eastern Canada, permit registrations receded in the Prairies and British Columbia. The decrease in the western regions can be attributed to not only economic uncertainties, but also extreme drought conditions, not to mention the disastrous Ft. McMurray wildfire.

In terms of trends, especially in southern Ontario, Peter Brown, vice-president of BonaVista Pools says it seemed like there were many people undertaking new large projects, whether they were constructing a new custom home or cottage, or a major landscape revitalization of their existing properties.

“Last year was a good, strong year for pool sales and I anticipate 2017 will be even better,” he says.

For a complete report on the state of the Canadian swimming pool industry, watch for the April 2017 issue of Pool & Spa Marketing.

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