Matheos Zaharopoulos
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Are Home Renovations Worth it in Québec?

Matheos Zaharopoulos
September 4th, 2020 · 5 min read

Québec Renovation Value of Design - September 2020

What is the value of a finished basement in the Québec real estate market? Are wooden cupboards a design trend? Is it possible that bidets are the bathroom fixtures which fetch more money on the market? This article will be less math heavy and focused on descriptive statistics - in specific, the mean. Perhaps the median is a more important indicator of value, I would argue that the mean, median and mode are all need to describe the distribution which is most important. In a future article, it would interest me to do statistical tests if people express their interest! We will skip the pre-processing, although important, you’ll find that I have done little of it. For count metrics, knowing the total number of listings is crucial. The database is 5,670 listing from around Québec. Most charts come from Mongo Charts, which creates a front end for non-coders to use the data. The NoSQL language is easy to pick up and other companies, such as Elastic Search, feature built-in language search capabilities. Elastic search gives give your company access to what some of considered an internal Google. I have both set up personally, however I did free training with MongoDB, preferred its charts application, and was interested by BJSON which use binary search algorithms. These charts automatically update after we build them, as we add data on the backend. They are easy to embed to a website and offer a decent level of interactivity. For more advanced analysis, it misses the target and requires training.

*Someone also pointed me toward Microsoft Power BI, which uses an SQL backend that interests me.

MongoDB Charts Dashboard

Highlights

  • Total database is 5,760 listings of single homes in Québec
  • Fresh paint, new roof, new bathrooms, new floors are the most common renovations and upgrades.
  • Homes with bidets list the highest average asking price, although two-sinks in the bathroom are the more logical modification.
  • Wooden cupboard kitchens are the highest-valued cabinetry.
  • Gas stoves and built-in appliances make for the highest-valued kitchens.
  • Terrazzo is the most expansive type of flooring on average. *
  • External facings of acrylic resin, concrete, copolymer make the three highest averaged value facing. *
  • Finished basements and potential income basements have a near equivalence in average asking prices.
  • Note: These charts would benefit from pre-processing and deeper analysis because of potential confounds.

Database

We covered the database in the introduction by stating our objectives with this article. I would just like to state that this analysis does not take geolocation into account, so use your reasoning and logic skills. There is the possibility of some metrics resulting from obvious confounds. Now, we’ll go straight into the top renovations. We can see that 4,047 homes got a fresh coat of paint before listing to sell. Considering there are 5,760 total listings that means, 70.03% of sellers painted their home to spice up the deal. A new roof comes in second with 62.22% of people selling not long after doing this standard maintenance. Roofs last from 25 to 50 years, which could relate to peoples urge selling after doing this major home maintenance. That lifespan also correlates well to the longest mortgages. Last, the bathrooms come in 3rd with 56.09% of homes having recently redone the bathroom before choosing to sell. In construction marketing, it becomes obvious this is a lucrative metric to all major brands. Check out Home Depot, Renovco, or Reno-Assistance and see where they position bathroom products and renovations.

Pie chart showing most common renovations on house sales in Québec


The Results

Bathroom Design

In the bathrooms, we see people attach bidets to the highest average asking prices. Next are two sinks and followed by that a Thermo-masseur bathtub. The relationship is logical when you think of the cost of this hardware and space requirements. Bigger, more expensive houses have more luxurious and fancier toys. Regardless, things such as step-up baths are easy and cheap additions when renovating all kinds of bathrooms and they seem to be values higher. Looking at the value of each tub type it becomes apparent to which design trend offer true advantages in market value.

The mean price of each bathroom component.

Kitchen Design

Being from a construction family, I wanted to check kitchens next. If this article inspires anyone to renovate, don’t be shy to ask for a quote! Wooden cupboards blow all others out of the water and this makes me skeptic. It’s possible some pre-processing outside of Mongo Charts would have been good. Gas range oven seems obvious to me considering the immense value it adds to cooking because of the added convenience. Built-in appliances such as an oven, cooktop stove both look good and add obvious value to your home. The downside might be in appliance repair, but I have you covered; A.S.T.A. Appliance Repairs has a fixed labour cost if you’re willing to wait a little for service.

The mean price of each kitchen component.

Floor Materials

Floors materials can vary significantly in cost of purchase and installation. I’m not sure there are any shockers in this chart, although I have heard that most tiles are porcelain now days, so that may excite some readers! As expected, at the top we see marble, granite, etc… We should expect that concrete as a floor material is likely only one of many types on any individual listing. In my experience, pressed concrete floors or unfinished basements are common.

The mean price of each flooring material.

External Facings

The external facing chart is another tricky one because it seems illogical that aluminium siding is worth more than stone. Geolocation, property size, or variation within similar listings are all potential confounds. Statistical tests and data manipulation would be helpful; however, the article is already getting long.

The mean price of each external facing material on price.

Basements: Finished or Unfinished?

Last, a chart showing the state of the basement by average price to hunt those deals! Crawl space being at the top is one of those things that needs investigation. Perhaps homes with finished basements and crawl spaces are bigger and cost more thus creating an improper reading when taking the average. Finished means buying a house key in hand the way you want it. Potential income from a basement likely results in easier financing or multigenerational investments, which is a commodity.

The mean price of single homes based on the state of the basement

Future Work

Admittedly, a ratio for many of these numbers would be best. When my schedule irons out a little I will try to imagine or research a formula. If anyone has an idea please let me know! A ratio that captures the percent value increase attributed to each factor could be modeled, or perhaps there is something more mathematical. Perhaps the price over the average as shown in this article creating a ratio for each number which can be used to observe the differences overall. I’ve already started the script to chart out trends by region for personal reasons. The standard deviation and trend lines in the charts show interesting metrics for investors and homeowners. Hot tip: I saw that Mont Tremblant is in the top 20 most expensive areas with a large (but unstable) upwards trend in asking prices. Check out Airbnb and other short-term rental sites to gain insight why Mont Tremblant is trending. I’ve also began to look at the value of proximity to schools, touristic attractions, and more. I’d love to chat with readers about their interests, so email me or contact me on social media!

A series of plots showing price trends by region over time.

A plot showing the average price trend and standard deviation for a Mont Tremblant over time.


Feedback is beyond welcome, it’s appreciated. I am testing these new template to provide articles with greater ease to focus on contact. Do you like it? Did you prefer the old one? Let me know.

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