Tag Archives: David Wilkes

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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BILD Renovation and Custom Home AWARDS

BILD Renovation and Custom Home AWARDS

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BILD Renovation and Custom Home AWARDS

by Dave Wilkes

Professional renovators help realize homeowners’ vision

Our modern lives are different from how we lived 20, 10, or even five years ago, and we want our homes and living spaces to reflect that. Instead of the small, enclosed rooms of many older homes, we are looking for open living spaces that invite in natural light. And thanks to professional renovators, we can stay in our current homes and neighbourhoods and still get the renewed spaces that accommodate our contemporary lifestyles.

GOLDEN BEE HOMES WINS THE RENOVATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD L - R Michael Rosset (HPG President), Abraham Mradian, Katherine Pollock, Pars Margarosyan, Jack Torossian, (Golden Bee Homes) Fay Splett, (HPG) & Darren Steedman (BILD Chair) Photography by Rodney Daw
GOLDEN BEE HOMES WINS THE RENOVATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD L – R Michael Rosset (HPG President), Abraham Mradian, Katherine Pollock, Pars Margarosyan, Jack Torossian, (Golden Bee Homes) Fay Splett, (HPG) & Darren Steedman (BILD Chair) Photography by Rodney Daw

I was reminded of this trend when BILD announced the winning projects at our Renovation and Custom Home Awards on March 9th, 2018 at the AllStream Centre, on the opening day of the National Home Show. Each of the “after” photos featured open, light-filled rooms. If you would like to see them all, search #BILDRenoAwards on Instagram.

RENO & DECOR magazine is the founding sponsor of the Custom Reno awards and participates in the event every year. All professional renovators behind these award-winning projects are GTA-based members of the national RenoMark program.

Best Renovation Under $75,000 BRAMSON CONSTRUCTION
Best Renovation Under $75,000 BRAMSON CONSTRUCTION

The photos and the project description of each winning project illustrate the quality of work and careful thought that the RenoMark renovator invested in making the client’s vision of a bright, airy home, a reality. Bramson Construction, the winner of the award for Best Renovation Under $75,000, removed walls to transform a kitchen, dining and living area into a unified, streamlined space.

Best Renovation $75,000 - $150,000 GOLDEN BEE HOMES
Best Renovation $75,000 – $150,000 GOLDEN BEE HOMES

TOP HONOURS

Golden Bee Homes changed a floor plan with a small, enclosed kitchen and dining room into an open family space that takes advantage of natural light from an existing skylight. The company received the award for the Best Renovation $75,000 to $150,000, as well as the Renovator of the Year award, which is based on survey results from clients.

Best Condominium Renovation W.C. MEEK DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
Best Condominium Renovation W.C. MEEK DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION

Urbanline Architecture reconfigured interior spaces in a dated house, merging the kitchen and dining room into a space for entertaining guests, and using a glazed wall to connect to light and greenery outside. They received the award for Best Renovation $150,000 to $300,000. The company also won for Best Renovation $300,000 to $500,000, for the transformation of a mid-size, three-storey house into flexible, multi-purpose spaces for a growing family.

Best Custom Home SEVERN WOODS CONSTRUCTION
Best Custom Home SEVERN WOODS CONSTRUCTION

Lewitt Construction converted a 1920s house with small, dim spaces into an open home with large windows and high-end finishes such as walnut floors, a steel-and-glass staircase, and custom millwork. They won the award for Best Renovation $500,000 or more.

Best Renovation $150,000 - $300,000 URBANLINE ARCHITECTURE
Best Renovation $150,000 – $300,000 URBANLINE ARCHITECTURE

W.C. Meek Design and Construction transformed a condo suite by removing interior walls to open up the main living spaces, and let in natural light from the south end of the unit. They also installed low-maintenance flooring for the client’s dogs. The company won the award for Best Condominium Renovation.

Best Renovation $300,000 - $500,000 URBANLINE ARCHITECTURE
Best Renovation $300,000 – $500,000 URBANLINE ARCHITECTURE

SevernWoods Construction created an architecturally significant home with comfortable living spaces for family life and large events, paying attention to providing pleasing views for this ravine house. They were presented with the award for Best Custom Home.

Best Renovation Over $500,000 LEWITT CONSTRUCTION
Best Renovation Over $500,000 LEWITT CONSTRUCTION

If you have been inspired to update your home, start by speaking with a RenoMark renovator. He or she will be your partner in a successful home renovation. You can find one in your area by searching on renomark.ca

BILD would like to congratulate all the winners and finalists.

A complete list of winners can be found in the GTA section of renomark.ca.


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New home market quiet in March

New home market quiet in March

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New home market quiet in March

New home market quiet as buyers exercise caution, inventory shrinks.

March was a quiet month in the new home market in the GTA, with sales down relative to both last March and the 10-year average, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced April 24, 2018.

There were 1,960 total new home sales in March, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence, including 1,649 condominium apartments sold in low, medium and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, which was down 67 per cent from March 2017 and 21 per cent from the 10-year average.

March condominium apartment sales were below underlying demand levels, according to Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president, research consulting services. “Some of the demand that might have normally occurred this year was brought forward last year, helping to set a record year for condo apartment sales in 2017,” she said. “After an adjustment period, we expect the monthly pace of condo apartment sales to improve.”

Single-family home sales, with 311 detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses) sold, were up from the 265 sold in February, but down 77 per cent from last March and down 79 per cent from the 10-year average.

This year’s new home sales numbers reflect more typical activity in the housing market after last year’s unusually strong new home sales, according to David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. Last year was the fourth strongest year for new home sales in the GTA since Altus Group started tracking in 2000.

“This year, the cumulative effects of government measures to cool the housing market are likely keeping many potential buyers out of the housing market,” said Wilkes. “Many may simply be taking a wait-and-see approach.”

In March, the benchmark price for new single-family homes decreased slightly to $1,207,832, which was 7.4 per cent above last year, and the benchmark price for new condominium apartments continued to rise to $742,801, which was 39.4 per cent above last March. Behind the increase in condo prices is the fact that the benchmark unit size has increased to 900 square feet from 800 square feet a year ago, while the benchmark price per square foot has increased to $825 from $666 last year.

Low supply of new housing helped keep prices high. The supply of both condo apartments and single-family homes dipped again in March, with total new home remaining inventory at 12,457 units, comprising 8,756 condominium apartments and 3,701 single-family homes. Based on the pace of sales in the past 12 months, this is about four months worth of inventory, while a healthy new home market would have nine to 12 months worth of inventory.

“If we want to see more housing that people can afford, we need to address this region’s housing supply problem,” said Wilkes. “And for that to happen, we will all need to work together to remove barriers to development, which include outdated zoning that doesn’t support intensification, miles of government red tape, and lack of critical infrastructure.”


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h_apr2018_home_builder_2

Home Builder: Let’s Get Affordable Housing Right

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Home Builder: Let’s Get Affordable Housing Right

Government needs to put incentives, programs and partnership frameworks in place

I believe that the health, prosperity and quality of life in the GTA depends on access to quality housing for households of all income levels. Affordable housing gives safety and stability to people with low to mid incomes who are often single parents, seniors, recent immigrants and people with disabilities.

To address the needs of the growing concerns of this issue, the provincial government amended the Promoting Affordable Housing Act, adding inclusionary zoning as a new planning tool for municipalities. If done in partnership with the building industry, inclusionary zoning could ensure that affordable housing gets built in a way that promotes socio-economically diverse neighbourhoods.

The new legislation that passed in 2017 gives local government the option to establish policies that would require housing applications to include a certain percentage of affordable units within a development.

The government consulted with municipalities, developers, housing advocates and other interested parties on a framework for inclusionary zoning in Ontario. The government received a broad range of comments and suggestions during the consultation.

The intent of inclusionary zoning is to encourage development of affordable units that would not otherwise be built. For inclusionary zoning to be successful, the building industry needs to be supported by incentives and partnerships. We need to strike a balance between creating affordable housing and encouraging developers to build it.

The provincial government is also contemplating pre-zoning properties that would make the approval system more efficient, giving residents a voice in how their community should grow.

The Urban Land Institute, a U.S. think tank on land use and real estate, published a report in 2016 that provides an in-depth study of how a growing number of cities have adopted inclusionary zoning policies to help increase affordable housing without impacting the overall affordability of housing for everyone.

For example, New York City has voluntary inclusionary zoning and made the program attractive for developers through tax incentives in exchange for including affordable units in their building, or another building within a kilometre of the community district.

Closer to home, the City of Mississauga introduced their affordable housing strategy, titled Making Room for the Middle, that introduces a flexible approach. The city brought the industry to the table to work in partnership to identify a list of tools to help build units sooner by pre-zoning land, decreasing development charges and updating official plans.

The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and its members are committed in working collaboratively with our municipal partners to support the delivery of affordable housing as demonstrated by our active participation in these initiatives and discussions across the GTA.

We need to find ways to balance the need for affordable housing to keep all homes in the GTA affordable for people to purchase. Development is expensive and if the building industry is to include more affordable units in a development, the government needs to put the incentives, programs and partnership frameworks in place that will make projects viable without undermining housing affordability.

David Wilkes 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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New house still out of reach for many buyers

New house still out of reach for many buyers

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New house still out of reach for many buyers

Fewer than one-in-five single-family homes available to purchase at the end of February were priced below $750,000.

In February, the prices of new homes in the GTA showed few signs of abating, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced March 22, 2018.

The benchmark price for condominium apartments in lowrise, midrise and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units rose again in February, to $729,735, which was 39.5 per cent above last February, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new-home market intelligence. The benchmark price for available new single-family homes, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses), dropped slightly from $1,229,454 in January to $1,219,874, but was still 12.8 per cent above last February’s price.

“Tight supply continues to drive pricing levels,” said David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. “This is especially true when it comes to the pricing of single-family homes.”

Although the new home market saw a modest increase in supply in February, to 12,896 units, comprised of 9,285 condominium apartments and 3,611 single family homes, supply is still well below what is considered a healthy level. Supply of new housing is typically measured by the number of new homes available for purchase in builders’ inventories at the end of the month and includes units in pre-construction, under construction and completed projects. A healthy new home market should have nine to 12 months of inventory, and right now inventory is at about four months, based on the pace of sales in the past 12 months.

“While single-family new home inventory is up from last year, it is still quite low in historical terms,” said Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president, Research Consulting Services. “Moreover, there is a dearth of new single-family product that is affordable to a broader range of buyers – fewer than one-in-five single-family homes available to purchase at the end of February were priced below $750,000.”

Sales of new homes in the GTA rose in February from January, with 2,159 new homes sold, but remained soft relative to the very strong sales recorded last February. Sales of new single-family homes were down 82 per cent from last February and 79 per cent below the 10-year average, with 264 units sold in February. Sales of condominium apartments were down 50 per cent from last February but still 17 per cent above the 10-year average, with 1,895 units sold.

Wilkes said that government regulation is a significant factor influencing the industry’s ability to increase the supply of new housing in the GTA.

“We encounter excessive red tape, out-of-date zoning and lack of developable land serviced with critical infrastructure,” he said. “That is why, as the municipal elections approach, we’ll be initiating public conversations about ways policy makers, urban planners, our industry and residents can work together to address the GTA’s housing supply challenge.”

bildgta.ca


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THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Industry and municipalities work together to provide public art

THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Industry and municipalities work together to provide public art

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THE INDUSTRY LEADER: Industry and municipalities work together to provide public art

by David Wilkes, BILD

We need more collaboration to create thriving complete communities where people can live, work and enjoy their leisure time.

As development in our region intensifies, public art is flourishing in our communities. Besides beautifying the places where we live and work, these sculptures, murals and LED installations create a sense of community, evoke civic pride and invite tourism. Many of these works are the result of creative partnerships between our industry, municipalities and artists.

In the City of Toronto, a large proportion of public art is funded through the Percent for Public Art Program, which has developers contribute 1 per cent of the gross construction cost of projects to public art. In return, the city may allow them to increase the height of a building or build a denser development, an exchange permitted by Section 37 of the Ontario Planning Act. Depending on the size of the contribution, it may be used to commission an art installation on site, pooled in the city’s Public Art Reserve Fund, or a combination of the two options.

In the last five years, the program has seen the completion of approximately $25 million in public art, with additional funding secured that has not yet been spent. Since its inception, the Percent for Public Art Program has enriched Toronto with more than 150 pieces of public art. Many are part of condominium developments and enjoyed by residents and passersby alike. An example is a work titled “We Are All Animals,” located in a public plaza in front of a condo near High Park. The installation, commissioned by the developer from a Toronto-based art studio, consists of a long bronze bench, a trio of coyote sculptures and an LED screen showing an ever-changing digital rendering of High Park’s landscape.

Another remarkable piece of art that people can enjoy as a result of collaboration between industry and the city is “Guard with Balloon Dog,” a stencil attributed to the anonymous graffiti artist Banksy, which is on display in the PATH system near 1 York Street. It was found on the wall of a former office building in the Harbourfront area. Before the building was demolished, the developer salvaged the panels, had them professionally restored and eventually had them installed, along with a commissioned companion piece, as a public art contribution accompanying its major mixed-use project in the area.

Other municipalities in the GTA are also building their public art collections thanks to partnerships with our industry, despite the fact that public art contributions are voluntary. For example, in Mississauga, a two-part metal and glass sculpture called “Migration” depicting birds in flight, forms a gateway over Duke of York Boulevard where it meets Burnhamthorpe Road. The work was jointly funded by developers behind two nearby condo projects and the City of Mississauga.

In Markham, kids and kids at heart can ride a colourful piece of public art, a merry-go-round featuring characters that evoke Canada, such as a beaver, a Mountie, a moose and a salmon. The carousel, made by Canadian-born California-based artist Patrick Amiot, is called “Pride of Canada,” and was made out of repurposed materials collected across the country. It is the centerpiece of an extensive public art initiative that is being spearheaded by the developer behind the major mixed-use development in downtown Markham. The eclectic public art collection includes street art photography in an underground parking garage and a floral light sculpture over the entrance of a shopping centre.

I could fill several more columns with examples of art that we all get to appreciate because of innovative partnerships between our industry and municipalities. As our region continues to grow, we will need more of this kind of collaboration to create thriving complete communities where people can live, work and enjoy their leisure time. With elections approaching this year, BILD will be asking questions about how we can work together to make this vision a reality.

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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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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GTA new home market continues recent trends

GTA new home market continues recent trends

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GTA new home market continues recent trends

Benchmark price for available new single-family homes in January was $1,229,454, which was 19.6 per cent above January 2017.

Sales of new single-family homes in the GTA hit their lowest level for January since before 2000, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced last week.

Single-family homes, including detached, link and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses) represented only 365 units out of the 1,251 new homes sold in January, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence.

“The January data continues a trend we have seen in the GTA,” said David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. “Our industry wants to meet consumer demand in terms of the mix and type of homes available, but we are constrained by government policy. Affordability and the lack of supply of single-family housing remain a challenge.”

In the meantime, condominium apartments in low, medium and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units accounted for 70.8 per cent of new home sales, with 886 units sold.

“New condominium apartment sales in January were in line with typical levels for this time of year,” said Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president of Research Consulting Services. “New condos remain an attractive option for end-user buyers looking for more affordable homes, as well as for investors who are ensuring needed new rental supply continues to flow into a tight rental market.”

In January, the benchmark price for available new single-family homes was $1,229,454, which was 19.6 per cent above January 2017. The benchmark price for condominium apartments was $714,430, which was 40.8 per cent above last January.

The new home market saw a very slight increase in supply in January, to 11,750 units, from 11,397 units in December. This is still well below what is considered a healthy level. Supply of new housing is typically measured by the number of new homes available for purchase in builders’ inventories at the end of the month and includes units in pre-construction, under construction and completed projects. A healthy new home market should have nine to 12 months worth of inventory and right now inventory is at about three to four months, based on the pace of sales in the past 12 months.

“The GTA is expected to grow to 9.7 million people by 2041,” Wilkes said. “How are we going to house them? All levels of government and the building industry have a role to play in increasing housing supply and we need to work together to simplify approval processes, update zoning by-laws and service developable land so we can bring more homes to market.”


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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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Real Estate Sales 2017 Year-End and 2018 Forecast

Real Estate Sales: 2017 Year-End and 2018 Forecast

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Real Estate Sales: 2017 Year-End and 2018 Forecast

In the GTA, 2017 set a record high in new condo apartment sales and a record low in single-family home sales

In the GTA new home market, 2017 was a year of declining inventory, high prices and strong sales, setting a record high in new condo apartment sales and a record low in single-family home sales, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced January 26, 2018.

Overall in 2017, there were 44,143 new homes sold in the GTA, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. That makes 2017 the fourth strongest year for new home sales in the GTA since Altus Group started tracking in 2000. Only 2002, 2011 and 2016 had stronger new homes sales, with 2002 being the highest at 53,660 units sold.

Of the new homes sold in 2017, 82.5 per cent (36,429 units) were condominium apartments in low, medium and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, the highest number of condo apartments sold in any year in the GTA, while 17.5 per cent (7,714) were single-family homes, including detached, link, and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses), the lowest number sold since Altus Group started tracking in 2000.

“Low inventory and escalating prices across the board are behind the highs and lows of the sales numbers we saw in 2017,” said David Wilkes, BILD’s new president and CEO. “Our industry wants to build new homes to increase the housing supply in the GTA, but we need municipalities to work with us to expedite the process by simplifying the development approval process, updating zoning by-laws to align with provincial policies and servicing developable land with critical infrastructure.”

The supply of new housing is typically measured by the number of new homes available for purchase in builders’ inventories at the end of the month and includes units in pre-construction, under construction and completed projects. At the end of December 2017, there were 11,397 new homes available for purchase, down 13.2 per cent from 13,136 at the end of December 2016 and 60.3 per cent below the 28,739 new homes available 10 years ago. Since 2000, the total inventory at the end of each month has typically been between 20,000 and 30,000 units. For over a year and a half now, it has been below 20,000 units.

The decline in single-family home inventory has been even more dramatic. At the end of December 2017, there were 3,481 new single-family homes available for purchase, down 74.4 per cent from 10 years ago.

New home prices rose again in December 2017, with the benchmark price for available new single-family homes at $1,225,774, which was 23.2 per cent above last December’s benchmark price of $995,116. Meanwhile the benchmark price for available new condo apartments was $716,772 in December, 41.3 per cent above the December 2016 benchmark price of 507,128.

“While many end user buyers have been looking to the new condominium apartment sector for more affordable homes, some are now starting to be priced out of this segment as well,” said Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president of Research Consulting Services.

Wilkes said BILD will be raising issues of housing supply and affordability as the municipal elections approach this fall.

“As the GTA prepares for unprecedented growth, we must get this right to ensure the region continues to be one of the most dynamic and vibrant places to live,” he said. “We are calling on governments at all levels to ensure that people who choose to live in the GTA can afford to purchase a new home.”

December 2017 New Home Sales by Municipality

Dec. 2017 Condominium Apartments Single-family Total
Region 2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015 2017 2016 2015
Durham 17 50 43 21 75 94 38 125 137
Halton 170 59 47 53 93 85 223 152 132
Peel 87 130 50 12 152 196 99 282 246
Toronto 352 1,692 1,031 8 32 17 360 1,724 1,048
York 218 345 155 65 277 226 283 622 381
GTA 844 2,276 1,326 159 629 618 1003 2,905 1,944
Source: Altus Group

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Robust Activity Will Continue In 2018

The “2018 GTA Flash Report,” which provides a comprehensive review of the real estate market in the GTA based on 2017 data, was released January 26, 2018 by the Altus Group. The report highlights another record-breaking year for total investment property sales volumes, and looks at the performance of commercial leasing, land and residential sectors in the GTA.

Investment property sales, including land sales, as well as sales of office, retail, industrial, hotel and rental apartment properties, reached a total of $23.5 billion in 2017, a 38 per cent increase from 2016 and a record for the seventh consecutive year. Residential land sales contributed a record $8.5 billion to the total, up $2.8 billion over 2016.

In the office-leasing sector, the GTA-wide office vacancy rate fell in 2017 to 8.9 per cent (including vacant but leased space), even with the completion of 13 new office buildings that have added two million square feet of inventory. Most of the new office supply under construction is in the downtown submarket, where the vacancy rate at the end of 2017 was below 6 per cent.

Turning to the new home sector, Altus Group’s data shows that total new home sales in the GTA reached just over 44,000 units in 2017, the fourth highest level on record. New condominium apartment sales, which includes apartments in low, medium and high-rise buildings, lofts and stacked townhouses smashed the previous annual record set in 2016 with just over 36,400 units in 2017.

“Altus Group data show that homebuying intentions remain strong in the GTA, despite the many roadblocks that have been put in potential buyers’ way due to factors such as price escalation in recent years, rising interest rates, tighter lending criteria and additional stress testing,” said Matthew Boukall, senior director at Altus Group.

The buoyancy in the GTA real estate sector in 2017 is poised to continue this year according to Altus Group experts. Below are key predictions for 2018:

Office shared work spaces: The trend of renting workstations within a larger office space will grow in the GTA as low vacancy rates lead to higher rents. Look for this segment to grow not just in the downtown market, but throughout the GTA, as employers look to accommodate staff pushed further out in search of more affordable housing options.

Land sales: Residential land sales are expected to be strong in 2018, although higher prices and various policy changes have introduced more uncertainty to the land market. High-demand areas are likely to remain expensive, which could push some developers to seek more affordable options outside traditional core areas.

New homes market: New condominium apartment sales are expected to remain elevated in 2018. However, surpassing 2017 levels will be a challenge. While investor interest continues to be strong, some end user buyers who have been looking to the new condominium apartment sector for more affordable homes are now starting to be priced out of this segment as well. Some modest increase in new single-family sales is possible, however sales in this segment will continue to be challenged by lack of available product, in particular options that are affordable to a broader range of buyers.

Industrial and Retail: Demand for industrial space will remain strong as online and traditional retailers seek warehouse space to support their e-commerce business strategies. Retailers will continue to shrink their brick and mortar footprint and traditional retail space will continue to evolve as retail centres focus on consumer experiences, especially food themes, to draw in traffic.

Investment Property: Investor appetite will remain strong in 2018. With interest rates moving up, there is potential for some shift away from debt-financed buyers toward more cash-focused institutional buyers.

Download the full “GTA Flash Report 2018” at datasolutions.altusgroup.com/gta-flash-report-2018

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