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INDUSTRY EXPERT: Smart & Selective

INDUSTRY EXPERT: Smart & Selective

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INDUSTRY EXPERT: Smart & Selective

by David Wilkes

Partner with a Pro for your Reno

I am a proud Torontonian who is fiercely connected to my neighbourhood. I’ve lived in this great region my entire life and, for the last 25 years, raised my family in the east-end of Toronto. We’ve done more than one renovation to our house, which added value and made it our home. Like many Torontonians, my neighbourhood is a part of my identity.

In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), we celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of our neighbourhoods. They are what make our region great. We value them and recognize the importance of creating livable communities through their development and revitalization.

Increasingly, GTA homeowners are choosing to stay in their neighbourhoods because, like me, they love them. They are renovating rather than selling and creating the home they want in the area they want to live.

Photography: BigStock.com
Photography: BigStock.com

REPUTABLE RESOURCE

There are more than 200 RenoMark renovators in the GTA. All of them agree to abide by the BILD Code of Ethics and a renovation-specific RenoMark Code of Conduct. They understand the value of customer service, provide warranties and continually educate themselves on trends, materials and new regulations.

UNDERGROUND ECONOMY SPIKE

Unfortunately, the introduction of the HST in 2010 accelerated the growth of an underground economy in the renovation industry. A report released by the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) in November 2017, shows the amount of residential renovation spending through contractors that leaked underground fluctuated between 38 and 40 percent between 2010 and 2016.

The underground “cash” economy in home renovation and repair poses significant risks, including worker safety liability risks for the homeowner if workers are not covered by the WSIB, no warranties, unfair competition with reputable contractors and loss of tax revenues.

This underground industry also undermines the integrity of the HST system. The report suggested that provincial and federal governments lost $16 billion in potential tax revenues through residential renovations undertaken by illicit contractors in Ontario during the same period.

FINDING CONSUMER-FAVOURED SOLUTIONS

Instead of fostering an underground economy, which encourages the avoidance of paying taxes, the OHBA has recommended the Ontario government consider introducing a tax rebate that would incent homeowners to document properly, and report their contractor renovation projects as well as a Home Renovation Tax Credit for energy-efficient upgrades.

Our colleagues at the Canadian Home Builders’ Association are also active partners with the Minister’s Underground Economy Advisory Committee, sharing industry information and recommendations with the Canada Revenue Agency on how to best address the impact of working around the system.

BILD has written its own renovation Service Standard of Excellence that was presented to the City of Toronto, outlining a practical system that would put the consumer first. The Service Standard of Excellence would speed up approvals and make Toronto City Hall more efficient. This would ease consumer frustrations and steer them away from using the underground economy.

So, what can you do to protect yourself? If you’re considering a renovation, your first step is to go to renomark.ca. There you will find the RenoGuide (Five Steps to a Worry-Free Renovation), the RenoMark Code of Conduct and you can use the Find a Renovator tool to find a participating renovator near you. If you’re a renovator in the GTA looking to get involved with the RenoMark program, email us at membership@bildgta.ca.

David Wilkes is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA.

For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, Facebook, BILD’s official blog, and bildgta.ca.


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Industry Expert: A New Voice for the Industry

Industry Expert: A New Voice for the Industry

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Industry Expert: A New Voice for the Industry

by David Wilkes

BILD welcomes new President and CEO David Wilkes

I am writing this column – my first as President and CEO of BILD – sitting in a café in downtown Toronto, looking at the development and growth that makes the Greater Toronto Area one of the most vibrant and dynamic regions in North America. I am struck not only by the economic activity that is taking place, but the realization that our members are providing a place for people to call home.

Photography: bigstock.com
Photography: bigstock.com

BOOMING INDUSTRY

There is no doubt that our industry is an important economic engine of growth. Over 197,000 people are employed in the new home construction, renovation and repair industry in the GTA. The industry generates $11.4 billion in wages and brings $30 billion in investment value to the area.

However, the economic importance of our industry is only part of the story and part of the reason that I am excited to join BILD. The societal contributions of the industry are also striking; ensuring that neighbourhoods and communities are places that people can live in and call home is a tremendous responsibility. The purchase of a new dwelling or engaging in a home renovation is a special time in one’s life. It is both a financial and an emotional investment.

I’m very proud to be leading the building, development and professional renovation industry. It is made up of hard-working professionals. There is a culture and a passion that runs deep throughout our industry and I look forward to contributing to the industry.

LOOKING AHEAD

2018 will be a busy year. We are a few months away from a provincial election and then municipal elections in the fall. During this time, BILD will share its ideas and thoughts with you and those seeking public office. We will discuss how we can work with our elected representatives to ensure that consumers have a wide range of choices when they invest in a new home, and that decisions are made to ensure housing remains affordable across the GTA.

Over the course of the year, we will continue to work closely with stakeholders and partner associations to demonstrate to provincial, regional and municipal governments the impact that new pieces of legislation and regulation have on customers. We will also share ideas and recommendations on solutions that help achieve both government and industry goals on behalf of the people of the Greater Toronto Region.

BILD will launch a new RenoMark website that will be your source for renovation advice and professional renovation contractors. We will continue with our five steps to a successful renovation seminar to help you make informed decisions about your home’s renovation project so you can renovate with confidence.

HOME SHOW IMPROVEMENTS

I am excited about the evolution of our Home Shows. One of the biggest changes you will see is more interactive experiences, like virtual reality software that not only allows you to design your home in a virtual space, but also teaches you how to do your own home renovation.

Make sure you mark your calendar and visit our GTA Home & Reno show on the Family Day weekend February 16 – 19, or the National Home Show over the March Break, March 9 – 18, 2018.

On the weekend of November 2 – 4, 2018 we’re launching a new home show called HomeFest. This show addresses the change in your home as you advance through different stages of your life. It’s like you’re viewing the show through your home’s perspective rather than your own.

I look forward to continuing to share BILD’s view on the current and future state of our industry through this column. I am very proud to be representing this great industry, and I plan to work with our members to deliver on our societal and economic responsibilities.

David Wilkes is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Associatio (BILD).

He can be found on Twitter, Facebook, BILD’s official blog, and bildgta.ca.


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Get some Design Intervention at the GTA Home & Reno Show

Get some Design Intervention at the GTA Home & Reno Show

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Get some Design Intervention at the GTA Home & Reno Show

by David Wilkes

GTA Home & Reno Show presented by RE/MAX coming February 16 to 19, 2018 at the International Centre in Mississauga

I love investing in my home. It’s where my family and I start and finish our day, it’s where we relax and entertain — it’s where we live our lives.

I have picked up inspiration and ideas for home improvement projects from home shows over the years. And now I work with the team that creates the four annual events because they are a part of BILD.

With the GTA Home & Reno Show presented by RE/MAX coming up on February 16 to 19, 2018— the Family Day weekend — at the International Centre in Mississauga, I sat down with Toronto Home Shows’ online community manager, Anna Rocoski, and answered a few questions to help explain how visitors can get the most out of the show — and make their next home renovation a success.

Anna Rocoski: How has the GTA Home & Reno Show helped you with your own renovations?

David Wilkes: We were looking to change the exterior of our house, so we went to the show not really knowing what to do or what the cost would be. We talked to a couple of people who were in the renovation business, specializing in stucco and other exterior work, and we were pleased to leave with some ideas. These ideas led to a follow-up visit to another home show and finally to doing business with the renovators. They ended up doing a great job of changing the exterior of our home and we’re happy to this day with the work they’ve done.

AR: What is the best approach when planning a visit to the GTA Home & Reno Show?

DW: There are two ways to go. One way is to go to explore possibilities for making your home different and the other is to go with an idea or plan in mind. We’ve often gone to get ideas and have come away with exactly what we needed to start making a concrete plan. The show is a great investment of your time because you see new things you didn’t think about and learn very specific information on how to undertake a project.

AR: Have you ever tried a DIY home improvement?

DW: Yes, but it didn’t go well. Do-it-yourself takes many forms, from hanging a picture to completing a big kitchen renovation. I tend to let the professionals do the bigger ones, whether inside or outside the home, because I recognize that larger projects require skills that I don’t have. DIY is fun, but you have to have the right tools, the right equipment, the right confidence, and that’s not who I am. I stick to hanging pictures.

AR: What are you most excited about seeing at this year’s GTA Home & Reno Show this year?

DW: I can’t wait to meet RenoMark renovators at the Destination Renovation booth. They’re offering free, 15-minute consultations and I am looking forward to getting professional advice. I’m also a huge fan of Handyman’s Corner, where I can pick up tips on how to improve my picture-hanging skills and tackle other small fixes around the house.

My turn to ask a question: As an insider, what other features of the show would you recommend to people?

AR: In addition to more than 300 vendors, we have expert speakers like HGTV’s Scott McGilligvray, Cityline’s Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault, handyman Chris Palmer, a feature home built by Bonneville Homes, interior designers offering free consultations at Design Intervention (sponsored by Reno & Decor magazine), family activities on Family Day and so much more.

And from experience, I’d say plan your day online at gtahomeandrenoshow.com — and be sure to bring your smart phone for photos, a notebook and a pen.

Dave Wilkes is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the homebuilding, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA.


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Industry Expert: Conquering a Winter Renovation

Industry Expert: Conquering a Winter Renovation

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Industry Expert: Conquering a Winter Renovation

The woes of a winter renovation are vanquished with proper planning and working closely with a professional renovator

Winter might seem like an unusual time to undertake a renovation but, with the right knowledge and a bit of preparation, it can be a great time to add value to your home. “The secret to a successful winter renovation is good planning and working closely with your renovator,” says Sam Lapidus, RenoMark renovator and chair of BILD’s Renovation and Custom Builder Council. Talking to your renovator in advance about potential challenges can help you save time and money in the long run. Snow and cold weather are two of the biggest factors in a winter renovation and they require precautionary measures so nothing is left to chance.

photography: bigstock.com
photography: bigstock.com

CLEAR THE WAY

Major renovations often require you to move out of your home for a few weeks. To ensure that your contractor has easy access to and from your home, you’ll need to make arrangements for shoveling snow and salting steps in your absence. Some renovation companies may offer the service but you’ll need to discuss it in advance. It may come at an added cost, so make sure it is noted in your renovation contract.

WATER HAZARD

When you move out of your home, it will likely cool down significantly even if the heat is still on. This increases the chance of water freezing inside your pipes, which could cause them to burst. To minimize the risk, have a plumber heat the water line coming into your house, or call your municipality to shut the water off at the street side.

BE A GOOD NEIGHBOUR

Homeowners doing a winter renovation in semi-detached houses or townhomes need to be mindful of how it may affect their neighbours. These types of homes have shared walls, and if the temperature in your home drops significantly, it can affect the comfort level of those living on the other side of the wall. If the shared wall is not properly insulated, talk to your renovator about installing some temporary insulation to prevent heat loss. This is another issue that should be discussed in advance as it may result in additional fees.

FLAT ROOF SAFETY MEASURES

Special precautions may be required when renovating homes with flat roofs. Major renovations or additions may compromise the structural durability of the home. Snow can build up on the roof, and if your home is not structurally finished, it may not hold up the weight. For an added fee, your renovator can have someone shovel the snow or have an electrician install a specialized heater. After the renovation, you can choose whether to remove the heater or leave it to prevent snow permanently.

It is very important that your contract outline the full scope of work and all associated costs. Avoid renovators who urge you to forego a written contract. It’s a sign that you are not working with a professional. Verbal agreements make it hard for you to hold your renovator accountable for sub-par work, and you will not have a point of reference if there is a conflict over payment.

Make sure you always work with a professional renovator. There are hundreds of them across the GTA. A good place to find one is at renomark.ca — home of the national RenoMark program. All RenoMark renovators agree to abide by a code of conduct, which holds them to a number of obligations. In addition to providing a written contract, they offer a minimum two-year warranty, are covered by at least $2 million worth of liability insurance and carry all applicable licenses and permits.

Your home is your largest asset, so it deserves a professional, no matter what time of year it is.

Bryan Tuckey is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association and a land-use planner who has worked for municipal, regional and provincial governments.

Follow him on Twitter @bildgta, facebook.com/bildgta, and bildblogs.ca.


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Industry Expert: Professionals Prosper

Industry Expert: Professionals Prosper

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Industry Expert: Professionals Prosper

by Bryan Tuckey

How to set the wheels in motion for a successful renovation

The keys to any successful renovation are thoughtful consideration, preparation, and working with a professional who executes that plan.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

The first consideration is to understand why you are renovating. Are you renovating to improve the value of your home for a quick sale, or are you doing it to improve functionality and increase the enjoyment of your home?

Another critical step early on in the process is to hire a professional renovator. The easiest way to find out is to ask prospective candidates if they are part of the national RenoMark program. BILD created the RenoMark program in 2001 to help GTA homeowners differentiate professional renovators from underground contractors. The program has been so well received that it is now used to distinguish professional renovators in nine provinces and more than 40 municipalities across Canada.

Photography: bigstock.com
Photography: bigstock.com

PROFESSIONAL & PROACTIVE

RenoMark renovators abide by a renovation-specific code of conduct, which includes things like providing a written contract, offering a minimum $2 million in liability insurance, providing two years warranty on all work, and having all applicable licenses and certificates.

Many renovation projects require you to obtain permits, which can be a complex process requiring several months. A professional renovator will know what permits are required for your renovation, and they will know how to get them.

Some renovations require architectural or design services, while others require an engineer. Such services are necessary to obtain building permits and should be factored into your budget. Your renovator will know what services you need, and give you a pretty good idea of what the rough costs of the project would be.

CONTINGENCY BUDGET

When it comes to budgeting, set aside 10 to 15 per cent of the project cost as contingency. Changes during the process are not uncommon, and they can impact the cost and timing of the job. Just make sure you and your renovator agree on how potential changes will be handled.

A detailed written contract is vital to a successful renovation. Your contract should clearly outline the scope of work, project timelines, payment schedules, warranties and how to handle any changes. If you don’t sign a contract, chances are that you’re not working with a professional, and will have no legal recourse should you receive substandard work.

AU COURANT

Professional renovators also have legitimate business licences, they are insured and offer warranties on their work. They regularly attend educational seminars and courses to stay ahead of the curve and keep their knowledge and skills up to date. That means they know about any changes to building codes or municipal requirements.

Talk to several renovators and interview them before deciding who to work with. Find out what kind of experience they have doing similar work to what you want done. Ask for references, and if they are members of a professional association.

Your renovator is your partner in realizing your vision for your project, and you need to work with someone that is right for you. Visit renomark.ca to find the right RenoMark professional for your project.

Bryan Tuckey is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association and a land-use planner who has worked for municipal, regional and provincial governments.

Follow him on Twitter @bildgta, facebook.com/bildgta, and bildblogs.ca.



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Home Builder: Survey Finds

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Home Builder: Survey Finds

What new homebuyers really want in their house

What do new homebuyers really want in their new house, townhouse or condo? Lots of storage, energy-efficient features and a great kitchen, according to a survey by BILD member Avid Ratings Canada.

The 2017 Canadian Home Buyer Preference National Study, completed for the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, compiled the responses of 2,775 recent new homebuyers from six provinces, including Ontario.

The survey found that the Canadian dream of owning a single-detached home is very much alive. When asked what they wanted their next home to be, 41 per cent of those surveyed said they wanted a single-detached, two-storey house and 24 per cent wanted a single detached bungalow. New homebuyers’ desire for single-detached homes has increased over the past few years. In 2015, 55.7 per cent of respondents identified single-detached as their preferred next home purchase, whereas this year, 65 per cent of respondents stated that preference.

New homebuyers across Canada said they are willing to make trade-offs to be able to afford their next home. The study found that almost 23 per cent would be willing to accept a smaller home and 20 per cent said they would be willing to live further from work and amenities to make their next home more affordable. Eighteen per cent said they would be willing to accept unfinished spaces in the home and 17 per cent said they would accept fewer community features.

The study also compiled a list of respondents’ top 10 must have home features. Survey results specific to the GTA showed that, not surprisingly, storage was a prominent theme with new homebuyers wanting plenty of space to park their belongings, from clothes to towels to cars. Walk-in closets were at the top of the top 10 must-have home features, and linen closets and two-car garages also made the list.

The kitchen was another key theme on the list. New homebuyers in the GTA said they want a kitchen that connects with living and dining areas, and they placed open-concept layouts and kitchen islands on their wish list. The majority also said they want that kitchen island and other counters to be topped with quartz rather than granite.

Energy efficiency was also important to new homebuyers in the GTA, according to the study. Among their must-haves were high-efficiency windows, energy-efficient appliances, certification by a designated program such as Energy Star and an overall energy-efficient home. As well, LED lighting and solar power generation were found to be growing in popularity.

When asked what motivated them to seek energy efficiency, only 16 per cent of new homebuyers across Canada cited concern for the environment. The majority, some 60 per cent, said their main motivation was lower utility costs. Fifty-eight per cent of survey respondents said they would be willing to spend an extra $3,000 to $5,000 on their next home to save $1,200 per year on utilities.

Surveys such as the Canadian Home Buyer Preference National Study are part of the extensive market research that the new homebuilding industry undertakes regularly. This research helps builders understand what new homebuyers are looking for, so they can build it.

Bryan Tuckey is president and CEO of BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association), and can be found on: Twitter.com/BILDGTA) Facebook.com/BILDGTA YouTube.com/BILDGTA and BILD’s official online blog: BILDBlogs.ca

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Industry Expert: BILD

Industry Expert: First Things First

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Industry Expert: First Things First

by Bryan Tuckey

Simplify the building permit process by entrusting your renovation to a professional

Now that you’ve decided to renovate your home, the first step is to do your homework and determine what building permits you might need.

Most construction, renovations, alterations and demolitions require a building permit. For instance, in many municipalities you need a permit for constructing separate rooms in your basement, but you probably don’t need one if you are building a fence, unless it is one that will enclose a pool.

Too often people question the importance of permits and sometimes they are tempted to undertake projects without having required permits in place. However, that is very short-sighted. Permits help protect you, your home and your community by making sure your project is structurally sound and follows all regulations.

Unprofessional renovators may be willing to do work without obtaining permits. Forgoing required permits may seem like a way to speed up your renovation and save money upfront, but it could very likely result in renovation deficiencies and added costs down the road. You could be faced with substantial fines and then having to redo the work. Lack of required permits may affect your home’s insurance coverage and you could also run into problems when you sell your home.

Local municipalities issue permits and application processes, and the rules governing building permits, can vary depending on where you live. Getting a building permit can be a complicated process. It can take several weeks or even months to obtain, and it can be a bit overwhelming, so a good approach is to work with a professional renovator who is experienced with permit applications.

RenoMark professional renovators are very experienced with permits and they will guide you through the process. They will assess your project and explain whether or not a permit is needed and what it will take to get one and they will work on your behalf to acquire them.

A critical step in obtaining your permit is ensuring that your project complies with the Ontario Building Code, municipal zoning and other applicable laws. Working with a professional renovator is the most efficient way to obtain permits. Your renovator is the project manager for your renovation and he/she will bring in the right people such as architects or engineers to get any necessary drawing for the permit application process. Make sure that the costs for additional professional services are discussed upfront and included in your renovation contract.

After you’ve obtained your permit and started construction, your renovator will arrange for all inspections required under the permit.

BILD created the RenoMark program in 2001 to help homeowners distinguish professional renovators from underground contractors. A key feature of the program is the RenoMark Code of Conduct by which all members agree to abide. It mandates that they provide written contracts for all jobs, have at least $2 million in liability insurance and offer a minimum of two years warranty on all work. Find a RenoMark professional at renomark.ca.

Bryan Tuckey is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association and a land-use planner who has worked for municipal, regional and provincial governments.

Follow him on Twitter @bildgta, facebook.com/bildgta, and bildblogs.ca.


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Demand for new homes continues to outpace supply

Demand for new homes continues to outpace supply

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Demand for new homes continues to outpace supply

In April, demand for new homes in the GTA continued to outpace supply and prices for all types of available new homes were up significantly, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced May 24, 2017.

There were 4,680 new homes sold in the GTA last month, an increase of 7 per cent from a year ago according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. Year-to-date sales of new homes in the GTA have been exceptionally strong. In the first four months of this year, 17,977 new homes were sold, 24 per cent more than during the same period in 2016 and 48 per cent above the 10-year average.

Meanwhile, the supply of new homes, the number of homes available to buyers in builders’ inventories at the end of the month, continued its unabated decline. At the end of April, there were only 9,387 new homes available to buyers across the entire GTA. This is the first time that overall inventory has dropped below 10,000 units since BILD and Altus Group began tracking such data more than a decade ago. A year ago, there were 21,056 new homes available for purchase in builders’ inventories.

“Builders are not able to keep up with the demand for new housing,” said BILD president and CEO Bryan Tuckey. “The product that builders are able to bring to the market is quickly purchased and prices for all types of new homes keep increasing as a result.”

In April, the average price of available new lowrise single-family homes, which includes detached, semi-detached and townhomes, was $1,212,297. That is 40 per cent more than the average price of such homes in April 2016.

Last month, the average asking price for available new detached homes in the GTA reached $1,810,232, while the average for available semi-detached was $856,036 and for townhomes was $946,496.

Prices of available new multi-family homes, condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes, were up nearly 24 per cent from a year ago. The average price of available units hit $570,226 in April, with the average price per square foot at $685, and the average unit size 832 square feet.

Prices of available condo apartments were up due to both an increase in average unit size and a substantial increase in average price per square foot. Average price per square foot was up 17.5 percent from a year ago.

“The declining number of new homes available to purchase is not a question of less product being brought to market,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president of Research Consulting Services. “There were more than 11,000 units in projects opened in the first four months of this year – that’s about one-third higher than the average for the previous two years.”

Approximately 70 per cent of the new homes that were purchased in the GTA in April (3,265 units) were multi-family condo apartments in highrise, midrise or stacked townhomes, while 30 per cent (1,415) were new single-family lowrise homes including detached, semi-detached and townhomes.

Single-family lowrise sales were down 39 per cent from a year ago while sales of multi-family condo apartments were up 61 per cent from April 2016.

April New Home Sales by Municipality:

April 2017

Highrise

Lowrise

Total

Region

2017

2016

2015

2017

2016

2015

2017

2016

2015

Durham

19

33

16

362

356

441

381

389

457

Halton

129

87

123

84

342

476

213

429

599

Peel

872

170

106

474

908

822

1,346

1,078

928

Toronto

1,621

1,391

1,262

52

119

88

1,673

1,510

1,350

York

624

351

294

443

611

868

1,067

962

1,162

GTA

3,265

2,032

1,801

1,415

2,336

2,695

4,680

4,368

4,496

Source: Altus Group

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Record month for condo sales as lowrise inventory drops to unprecedented level

Record month for condo sales as lowrise inventory drops to unprecedented level

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Record month for condo sales as lowrise inventory drops to unprecedented level

February 2017 was a record breaking month for new condo apartment sales in the GTA, while the number of new lowrise homes available to buy reached unprecedented levels of scarcity, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced today.

Across the entire GTA, there were only 1,001 new lowrise homes available in builder inventories at the end of February, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. A decade ago, there were 17,304 of these homes in builder inventories, which include single-detached and semi-detached houses and townhomes.

“February data demonstrates quite clearly that our housing supply crisis in the GTA is getting worse,” said BILD president and CEO Bryan Tuckey. “Our members are building to current provincial intensification policy and we are building less lowrise single-family housing and more high and midrise housing, but consumer demand for lowrise homes has not dropped.

“Today in the GTA we have a scarcity of single-family ground-related housing that is not just unprecedented, it is almost inconceivable,” said Tuckey. “As a result we are seeing record breaking condo sales and continued price growth.”

At the end of February, there were only 324 new detached homes available for purchase in builder inventories. In February 2007, there were12,064 such homes available.

February saw available new detached homes reach a new record average price of $1,469,449, while the average price for all single-family ground-related product, which also includes semi-detached and townhomes, climbed to a new high of $1,081,013.

According to Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president of research consulting services, the low inventory of available single-family product is a key factor driving price increases and it is limiting choices for consumers.

“If I were shopping for a single-family home 10 years ago, I would have been able to choose from among 500 different sites and nearly 18,000 units,” she said. “Today, there are less than 100 projects with any available units to purchase, totalling only about 1,000 units. And I would have to act very quickly to get one of those.”

In the GTA in February, there were more than twice as many new condo apartments sold than lowrise units. Altus Group recorded, 3,542 sales of condo apartments in stacked townhouses and midrise and highrise buildings, and 1,541 sales of new detached and semi-detached houses and lowrise townhomes.

Condo apartment sales in February were up 79 per cent over the same period last year and more than double the 10-year average. The month’s condo apartment sales were driven by continued strong sales in Toronto (1,661 units) and a significant increase in 905 sales, which included 105 unit sales in Durham, 107 in Halton, 370 in Peel and 1,299 in York.

Average prices for available new condo apartments in the GTA also set records in February. The average price of new condominium apartments in stacked townhouses and midrise and highrise buildings was $523,086, up from $507,511 in January. The average price per square foot reached an unprecedented $652 and the average unit size dropped to 802 square feet.

Inventory level for condo apartments continued to drop in February and reached a new low of 10,342 units.

“While the February results point to a trend decades in the making, the severity of the monthly figures, is jarring,” said Tuckey. “As the current data demonstrates, legislative guidelines and planning policies have real impacts on real people. With significant declines in builder inventory and record prices (for both lowrise and highrise homes), the GTA housing market is in crisis and it is time for governments to work with us to address the problems.”


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Ideas, advice and more at the National Home Show

Ideas, advice and more at the National Home Show

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Ideas, advice and more at the National Home Show

by Bryan Tuckey

Considering a renovation but don’t know where to start? Look no further than the National Home Show.

North America’s largest home and garden show, the National Home Show (alongside Canada Blooms) opens Friday, March 10, 2017 at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place, and runs until Sunday, March 19, 2017. It features a wide range of products and services for your home — more than 700 exhibitors will be on hand so there’s something for everyone.

The show is also a great place to get help for your next renovation. Exhibitors include professional renovators, designers, manufacturers, suppliers and more. Many of them can offer free professional renovation advice. No matter what your project is, there are experts to help you get started.

If you’re looking for some helpful tips for a small project you’re considering, Lowes DIY Centre features demonstrations on common home improvement jobs such as insulating basements, hanging new kitchen cabinets or stopping a pesky draft.

Looking for some great decor ideas? Visit Design Intervention presented by Reno & Decor Magazine where interior designers and decorators will be on hand to offer one-on-one consultations, free advice and expert tricks.

If you are renovating, make sure you attend the Five Steps to a Successful Renovation seminar on the main stage on March 10, 11 and 14. Two professional RenoMark renovators will discuss the five essential steps to a home or condominium renovation, outline what you should know about permits and point out what to look for when hiring a renovator. Get the full schedule at nationalhomeshow.com.

Another great source for professional renovation is Destination Renovation, BILD’s featured exhibit at the show. It will have a team of professional RenoMark renovators offering free renovation advice. They’re there to help so bring your photos, blueprints and sketches.

Destination Renovation is also a good place to learn about the national RenoMark program and how it can help you find professional renovators, trade contractors and custom builders. What sets RenoMark renovators apart is their commitment to a Code of Conduct which binds them to things such as providing written contracts for all jobs, having at least $2 million liability insurance and offering a minimum two-year warranty. Learn more at renomark.ca/Home.

The National Home Show also features a Dream Home that you can actually walk through and experience. This year’s Dream Home is the stunning 2,600-square-foot FutureDreamHome built by RenoMark member Probuilt. It features beautiful architecture and design, combining evolving technology with past traditions to fit a modern lifestyle.

The show is co-located with Canada Blooms, which offers more than 50,000 square feet of gardens and more than 30 landscapers. Be sure to walk through it if you’re looking to improve the look of your yard or just to appreciate some of the beautiful landscaping on display.

There is free parking after 4 p.m. on weekdays. If you buy your tickets online, use the “STAR1” promo code and save $5 off the regular purchase price.

Enjoy the show!

Bryan Tuckey is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). Find him at twitter.com/bildgta facebook.com/bildgta and bildblogs.ca.


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