Home improvement boom hits Sault Ste. Marie

SAULT STE. MARIE – Following the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent survey found that more than half of Canadian homeowners are planning on renovations.

Scotiabank’s survey shows that backyards, bathrooms, and kitchens are high on the list of projects. In Sault Ste. Marie, homeowners seem to be following this trend.

Business is booming for home renovation companies and stores specializing in building materials and hardware.

Soo Mill has a steady stream of customers, even during the nationwide lockdown and home ordering.

“A lot of people have been tricked into staying home and maybe doing renovations that they weren’t planning on at the time,” says manager Greg Hall.

“So it was good for us, it was good for us – which is difficult to know that other people are suffering.”

According to Hall, customers are currently focusing on the interior of their homes – a trend he expects will change as the weather warms up.

“People buy a lot of paint, people do the interior renovation,” says Hall.

“We’ll see a lot more of this stuff change when the fencing season and the breeding season come.”

Tracey Rutkauskas, President of Sault Ste. According to the Marie Real Estate Board, these interior renovation projects can be tied to the active local resale market.

“I think that when a house is renovated and moved in turnkey, people pay for it,” says Rutkauskas.

“They pay a little more than they normally would for these types of houses.”

In the meantime, Hall expects an active summer despite a jump in the price of building materials like lumber.

“Housing will be strong, many subdivisions will be built and carried on, even by the prices we are seeing right now,” he says.

While the number of DIY enthusiasts has been constant, the installation department at Soo Mill is facing challenges, according to Hall. This is because public health measures do not allow installation teams to enter homes.

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