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Pinning hopes on green homes

HOME BUILDERS IN Nova Scotia hope a new generation of energy-efficient houses will help pull the industry out of a slump.

"The market has stalled, that is for sure, but for builders who can hang in there, the long-term outlook is good," Andrew Holley, president of the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association, said in an interview Thursday.

Holley said the future looks good because of the energy-saving features included in the new generation of homes, which he said makes older buildings look like clunkers — at least in terms of energy efficiency.

"We are getting feedback from people in some of our new homes of monthly energy costs of between $40 and $70," he said. "We anticipate the demand for these superior energy efficiencies will continue to increase."

Purchasers of new homes that have the new energy-saving technologies can benefit from rebates ranging from $3,000 to $7,000 through the Performance Plus program announced by the provincial government in September.

The association was unsuccessful in its efforts to persuade the Dexter government to provide a two percentage point tax break to builders of new homes in July when the harmonized sales tax went up to 15 per cent.

There was a flurry of new construction early in the year when about 1,500 home buyers took advantage of a tax rebate for new home purchases that was offered as part of the province’s stimulus package for the industry. The rebate ended on March 31.

"There have been few new houses built since the rebate plan expired in the spring," said the association president.

"Between the loss of the new- home rebate and the addition of two per cent to the HST, the cost of an average home took a $12,000 jump. That HST increase doesn’t mean much when you’re buying a chocolate bar but it sure does when you’re buying a $250,000 house."

The Conference Board of Canada released numbers Thursday indicating the home-building industry in the Halifax metropolitan area was almost flat in September after a boom at the beginning of the year.

"Prior to the jump in starts at the beginning of the year, the housing sector experienced declines for the previous five years in a row," said board economist Jane McIntyre.


By BILL POWER Business Reporter, The Chronicle Herald

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Reader Comments (3)


Leaders, lauded by environmentalists for jumping on the green bandwagon, have promoted alternative energy technologies, alternative transportation, green homes


June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPark City Real Estate

This is so good! conus Mido replicaThank you for sharing this.

June 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia


Energy use is the first area where the policy is most likely to bite. So far the EU has mainly tried to get the computer industry to voluntarily comply with the Energy Star label standards.


June 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeer Valley Condos

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