In 2017, this province faced many weather extremes from the wettest spring on record (40 per cent more precipitation than average) to the driest summer ever (June to August). The unfortunate result of this was the longest, most disastrous wildfire season in the province’s history.
According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, thousands of people had to evacuate their homes. The fires burned more than 300 dwellings and resulted in the first province-wide state of emergency in 15 years, which lasted from mid-July to mid-September.
In what seems to have become the norm for residents in this province, level-four drought conditions were enforced for the third consecutive year.
Similar to how the trends in permit registrations in the Prairies returned to levels that were more positive from 2015, the same thing occurred in British Columbia.
While 2017 permits were down in Abbotsford-Mission (50 per cent), Vancouver (8.5 per cent), and Victoria (33 per cent), they were up in Kelowna by 23 per cent. Even though the market rebounded in Kelowna in 2017 (221 permits), just as it did in 2015, it was not enough to get back on the list of top five major urban centres with increased building permits. That said, the increase did help this CMA get off the top-five list for decreased permit registrations, which it entered in 2016.
In a year-over-year comparison, this region, as a whole, was down during the first six months by 17 per cent; however, between July and December, pool permits were up 29 per cent. Overall, the province experienced a three per cent increase in pool installations in 2017.
British Columbia represents five per cent of the total number of building permits issued in the country’s CMAs, which is an increase of 0.5 per cent over 2016.
2017 Percentage of Inground Swimming Pool Permits Issued (by Census Metropolitan Areas [CMAs])
A lot of promise
Using the 2017 permit registrations as a measuring stick, the number of pool installations slightly receded last year by 7.4 per cent (a difference of 987 permits). Keep in mind, the industry had a breakout season in 2016; the total number of permits (13,054) was the most reported in the last 13 years. That said, the number of permits issued in 2017 was the third most during this same period.
In addition to the weather, increased interest rates and new mortgage guidelines will likely have a bigger influence on consumers’ decision to purchase big-ticket items such as pools. That said, those who have planned properly, or simply have the means to make this type of purchase, will still look to enhance their backyard environment.
“Even though the market improved as the year progressed, and the building season extended well into late autumn, all of the lost ground was not made up,” says the Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada’s (PHTCC’s) executive director, Robert Wood. “Overall, 2017 will be remembered as a relatively mediocre year for the industry as a whole. This year should bring about a significant rebound, largely due to pent‐up demand.”
Another positive sign is an optimistic weather forecast from Environment Canada noting “Canadians nationwide will be content with the weather spring has in store, as it is not expecting any colder-than-normal conditions on the horizon between March and May.”
According to Warren from Total Tech Pools & Leisure, the outlook for 2018 is very positive, as the current economic climate is sound, even with the market volatility. It is the weather, as always, that will play a critical role this season.
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