High building costs, labour shortage top of mind at Fredericton Home Show

The Fredericton Home Show made a comeback after two years this weekend.

The event moved to the Atiken Centre where it's scaled back from the 200-plus booths seen in previous years.

The pandemic was to blame for the home show’s hiatus, but it’s also responsible for a lot of headaches in the home building industry.

"I think we're realizing that we have to be more patient because of the chain supply,” said Fredericton Home Show manager Brian McKiel. “And we have to work with the businesses that are out there, the cost of everything has spiraled.”

With many building and renovation companies backed up into next year, out of the 112 booths at the show this year, just one builder stood amongst the businesses.

He says they all recognize the increase in price.

"It's material increases that are driving this [price jump], it really is,” said Steven Peabody with Ironwood Homes. “There's really not a ton of difference for the actual builder, outside the fact that there's so much more volatility in when they sell a house today, what's it going to cost to buy materials this fall, we're all subject to that.”

The increased price of materials has left people looking to do work on their homes and properties checking their wallets.

John Kelley wants to replace his windows and heat pump, and is hoping to find someone available to do the work.

"A lot of phone calls asking for quotes, and some of them say they're booked up and not doing any quotes ‘till next year,” said Kelley. “Which is great, I'm glad businesses are getting more people in, but it’s not great for me.”

Building costs have others potentially scaling back their projects.

"It’s one of those things, you have to budget, but however with the cost of living, maybe I won't be able to do as much as I wanted to in the past, like build a whole deck,” said Dan Caissie.

“But now with the price of lumber, I have to maybe not even consider redoing my deck.”

Energy efficiency was a focus for many people at the home show, not only for their homes but vehicles as well.

"People are trying to figure out how they’re going to integrate it into their lives,” said Miles Goff with N.B. Power.

“They're thinking about their conventional driving experience,” he said. “So the whole idea of when you leave your driveway every morning your tank is full, that really is going to be a paradigm shift,” he said.

N.B. Power says on average, the install cost of an electric vehicle charging plug is between $1,200 and $2,500.