Some U.S. manufacturers of building materials have overlooked Canada as an important part of their market development efforts, instead concentrating on expanding their presence into new U.S. geographies or penetrating deeper into existing markets. This may have been rational, for example, in 2005 when the Canadian housing market about 1/10th the size of the U.S. market (measured in new homes completed). Last year, Canada’s housing market was about 1/5th the size of the U.S. market. The stability of the Canadian housing market is also noteworthy, and the anemic rebound of the U.S. new home market are more reasons to take a closer look at Canada.
Despite some similarities in U.S. and Canadian home styles and construction methods, new entrants to this market are cautioned against assuming it’s just an extension of the U.S. market. Builder codes, climate, and culture are different, leading to differences in how, why and what building materials are chosen. For example, spray foam insulation is used in about a quarter of all new Canadian homes, about double the share of U.S. new homes. New Canadian homes are much more likely to be sold with finished basements than their U.S. counterparts.
And the Canadian market for building materials isn’t static either. Since our last study of this market in 2008, we’ve found some examples of rapid change:
For the first time since 2008, Home Innovation Research Labs has conducted the Canadian Builder Practices Survey. Like the U.S. version, this study quantifies builders’ detailed purchases of building materials for new homes. The following report categories are available now for building materials purchases in 2013:
A description of each report is available, just click on the report titles to view a summary of their contents.
Home Innovation’s Consumer Practices Survey program documents building materials purchased for Canadian home remodeling as well. Twenty-seven separate reports on products and materials used for residential remodeling are produced each year. About 6,000 responses have already been gathered in this survey, and the following reports will be available in May.
Might the Canadian market be your key to success in 2014 and beyond? I look forward to discussing opportunities with the Canadian market for building products and services. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can answer any questions or help you discuss a Canadian market strategy.