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Weather aside, homeowners still want pools and outdoor living areas

However, while there were extreme variances in the weather across the province, some areas even teased with the prospect of an early spring, many homeowners who were tempted by the hot summer weather the year prior were determined to get a pool in 2017. Many may remember from last year’s report that permit registrations had not been strong between January and April in 2013, 2014, and 2015. It was not until 2016 that permits showed a 60 per cent year-over-year increase during this period. Considering the weather conditions, some may have not realized the number of pool permit registrations during this same stretch in 2017 were strong. In fact, 280 more permits were registered in 2017 than the previous year, representing a 112 per cent increase.

The upward trend that started in 2016 continued for much of last year (between May and September), despite the weather.

Regardless of cooler temperatures and record-breaking precipitation that are certainly not conducive to pool construction, let alone backyard entertaining, 1420 pool permits (427 more than the 2016 season) were registered between May and September, representing a 43 per cent increase. Thanks to a fall, summer-like heatwave, permit registrations in the fourth quarter (October, November, and December) continued to outpace the 2016 season; however, not by much. During this period, an additional 23 permits were recorded, representing a 12 per cent increase.

Of 16 reporting CMAs in the province—one more than in 2016, as Belleville was added—only one showed no change (Thunder Bay), while permit registrations increased in nine and decreased in six.

Toronto had a 16 per cent increase in pool permit registrations year-over-year, and after being bumped from the list of top five CMAs in 2016, it was back on the list in the fourth position in 2017. After a strong showing in 2016, permits in Hamilton increased again last year by 19 per cent and, as a result, this CMA retained the second spot on the list of top five CMAs. On the other hand, after Guelph’s 483 per cent increase in 2016 (number three overall), this CMA saw permits decrease by 69 per cent last year. As a result, this CMA fell to the third spot on the top five major urban centres with decreased permit registrations year-over-year.

It is important to note that Ottawa, which was crippled by snow in early 2017 and hammered by rain all year, still had a positive year-over-year increase in permits. This region experienced its wettest spring (March through May) and its wettest year on record long before 2017 was over. The total amount of rainfall between January and November was 1085 mm (43 in.), 64 per cent above average. That said, 23 more permits were registered in 2017 than the year prior, representing a 12 per cent increase.

Another positive take on the 2017 permit statistics is the fact another CMA was added in this region. While it is not an astronomical number, a total of four permits were issued in Belleville.

Ontario represents 24.5 per cent of the total number of building permits issued in Canadian CMAs, representing an increase of 0.6 per cent.

Prairies

When looking at the permit statistics, pool installers in the Prairies (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta) benefitted from the hot, dry weather last year. For instance, in Medicine Hat 22 of 31 days in July were above 30 C (86 F), while Regina hit a one-day, 28-year high of 38 C (100.4 F). Minimal rainfall, which is not necessarily a good thing, was also experienced in this region.

Similar to 2016, different parts of the Prairies still experienced a range of weather extremes from abnormal warm temperatures in February to windstorms in May, hailstorms in June, and thunderstorms in July. The warm/dry weather was also conducive to the active forest fire season across Manitoba.

While these destructive storms and wildfires have remained consistent year-after-year, pool permit registrations have not been, as they continue to fluctuate up and down. For instance, five CMAs reported a decrease in permits in 2016; however, just like two years ago, only one of six had fewer permits in 2017. (The addition of Lethbridge [38 permits] in 2017 brings the total number of CMAs in this region to six.)

When looking at the individual CMAs, Edmonton was the most successful, as pool permit registrations increased by 148 per cent in 2017. This comes after a 19 per cent decrease in 2016 and a 60 per cent increase in 2015. While this CMA did not make it back on the top-five list of major urban centres with increased building permits, it is no longer on the decreased permit list either. Pool installations were also up 100 per cent in Regina and 26 per cent in Calgary.

Overall, the Prairies represents three per cent of the total number of building permits issued in Canadian CMAs, representing an increase of 1.1 per cent.

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