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2018 web

5 things we can learn from real estate in 2018

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5 things we can learn from real estate in 2018

2018 web

With much of 2018 in the rear-view mirror, It’s been quite the year for the housing market in the GTA and elsewhere in Ontario. From sales and price fluctuations to supply concerns to rising housing costs. As 2019 approaches, here are five things we can learn from real estate in 2018.

 

1 Get used to the affordability issue

Get used to affordability challenges, especially in the GTA. This oft-cited issue is not going away any time soon, despite lobbying from the likes of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

Key economic fundamentals such as population and employment growth will continue to drive housing market demand. Over the next decade, almost 700,000 first-time buyers will target the GTA or Hamilton markets, according to a report from the Ontario Real Estate Association. Meanwhile, the supply of new homes is not yet being addressed, which contributes to rising prices.

With recent interest rate hikes and other changes, sales and prices in the GTA saw some moderation in 2018. But this will be short-lived, and a return to price growth is expected.

 

2 Increased government involvement – finally

Government lobbying by BILD and TREB seems to be paying off, in the sense that the Province is increasingly aware of the issues facing the industry – and buyers.

Buyers, you may not realize it, but you should thank BILD, TREB and other associations for that.

In late November, Ontario announced it was committing to a housing action plan “to help create more housing faster, give people more choice and bring down housing costs.”

Like anything involving government, though, this process will likely be slow moving – meaning, some of the challenges, namely increasing housing supply – will take time to be resolved.

But at least the issues are on the agenda.

One real example of this improved awareness is Ontario’s recent plan to change the 40-year-old apprenticeship system in the province – a move the home building industry says is a “game changer.”

It’s a game changer because the new one-to-one ratio, a significant change from the existing 3-to-1 ratio, will enable home builders and renovators to more easily hire and train new apprentices. Besides creating more job opportunities for trades workers, the move also helps builders and renovators operate their businesses

 

3 Fixing on interest rates

The Bank of Canada raised its overnight rate three times in 2018 – January, July and October – to where it sits now, 1.75 per cent.

Canada’s major banks, as is usually the case, responded by immediately raising their own rates.

Naturally, all of this has Canadians feeling a little uneasy.

The Conference Board of Canada’s latest Index of Consumer Confidence confirms that rising interest rates and weaker wage growth have started to take their toll on confidence. With interest charges squeezing Canadian wallets and weakening wage growth offering little reprieve, consumers have become hesitant to make major purchases and are less positive about the state of their finances.

In its latest rate announcement on Dec. 5, the Bank of Canada noted that global economic expansion is slowing, and the effects of the “oil price shock” are being monitored.

“We expect that the Bank will not move the overnight rate until the effects of the declining energy sector are known,”according to interest rate comparison website ratehub.ca. “However, the Bank makes it clear that they still plan on raising the key interest rate in 2019, likely more than once.”

This moderated stance might put downward pressure on fixed rate mortgages, however, so Canadians may see better fixed rates in the coming weeks, ratehub.ca says.

 

4 Real estate is more local than ever

It’s a simple point that escapes some consumers: Real estate is local, and in 2018, it became more local than ever.

What do we mean?

Well, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) and other major real estate bodies are mandated to oversee the national market.

So, when CREA issues a release that says Canadian home sales are down by X per cent, or when CMHC reports the national vacancy rate is down for the second consecutive year – and major media report such headlines – people tend to worry.

It’s essential to remember, however, that when you buy a home, you don’t buy the national market. You buy one house, on one street, in one neighbourhood, in one city and region.

If you live in Ontario, why do you care that Alberta’s ongoing oil industry struggles are pulling sales and prices down in markets in that province? Or that prices in Vancouver are even less affordable than in Toronto?

Forget the national headlines. Drill down into what’s happening in your market.

And why is real estate more local then ever? Because…

 

5 Lessons from Oshawa

General Motors Canada’s November announcement that it was closing its Oshawa assembly plant sent shockwaves not just through the province but all of Canada. To be sure, the loss of at least 2,500 jobs – not to mention untold positions in related suppliers – in a community of 170,000, is going to hurt. Hurt whom, and how badly, are the only questions.

This development should serve as a stark reminder to us all – of how important it is for cities to develop diversified, modern economies. Overdependence on any one ge, singular industries leads to overexposure in the case of downturns or, in GM’s case, outright shutdowns. It hurts the local economy, which impacts employment and wage growth, which impacts the housing market.

Oshawa, thankfully in recent years, has been diversifying its economy and expanding in technology, education and other industries. It will help, but the impact of the GM closure will likely play out over many months, if not years.

These developments could push housing in Oshawa into a buyers’ market, and prospective buyers could benefit from more options and softening prices.

In new homes, builders remain undeterred, encouraged by the longer-term growth and development throughout the Durham Region. Still, some may offer incentives such as discounts or inclusions to entice qualified buyers.

 

RELATED READING

GTA moving into balanced market for 2019

GTA new home market gains further momentum in October

What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa’s economy and housing market

New home buying opportunities abound in Oshawa and Durham Region

Where are interest rates headed in 2019?

 

 

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HPG video

VIDEO – HOMES Publishing Group celebrating 34 years in 2019

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VIDEO – HOMES Publishing Group celebrating 34 years in 2019

HPG video

A new year is always exciting, and as 2018 comes to a close and we look forward to 2019, HOMES Publishing Group prepares to celebrate its 34th year in business next year!

From Homes Magazine to Condo Life, to Reno & Decor, Renovation Contractor and Ontario Design and more, HOMES Publishing is the leading publisher of award-winning home related publications and digital products.

Whether you’re searching for a new home or condo, or planning a renovation and decor project, we can help. Check out our video:

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The Grohe Sense and Grohe Sense Guard water management system offers reliable protection against costly water damage by notifying homeowners about excess moisture or leaks using a convenient smartphone app.

The latest in home tech? How about a water leak watchdog?

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The latest in home tech? How about a water leak watchdog?

The Grohe Sense and Grohe Sense Guard water management system offers reliable protection against costly water damage by notifying homeowners about excess moisture or leaks using a convenient smartphone app.
The Grohe Sense and Grohe Sense Guard water management system offers reliable protection against costly water damage by notifying homeowners about excess moisture or leaks using a convenient smartphone app.

Whether by slow drips or sudden pipe bursts, water leaks can lead to substantial home repair costs – a per-case average of about $6,000 in Canada, in fact.

But now, thanks to a comprehensive water management system from Grohe, part of LIXIL, homeowners can protect their property and avoid or mitigate water damage.

Crisis averted

The Grohe Sense & Grohe Sense Guard water management system offers reliable protection against costly water damage by notifying homeowners about excess moisture or leaks using a convenient smartphone app.

Available together or separately, key components of the system are:

  • Grohe Sense is a smart-water sensor that is placed in your home wherever you see a risk, such as the basement, laundry room, bathroom or kitchen. It detects leaking water “around-the-clock” and immediately alerts homeowners.
  • Grohe Sense Guard goes one step further. It uses multiple sensors to track water pressure and the flow of water, and measures general water consumption. It automatically turns off the water supply when it detects unusual water activity.

“Unexpected water damage has the ability to turn your life upside down and unfortunately, 42 per cent of Canadian homeowners have been affected by water damage at least once in their lives,” says Gina Flinton, senior director, marketing, LIXIL Canada Inc.

“Grohe Sense & Sense Guard water management system helps homeowners protect their property against water damage and the unforeseen and often high costs associated with it.”

Possible insurance break

Grohe Sense and Grohe Sense Guard can qualify for insurance discounts as a leak protection system. Homeowners are encouraged to check with their insurance providers to realize savings on property insurance.

In addition to its water leak detection capabilities, Grohe Sense protects against frost and mould risks, by measuring the room temperature and humidity. If either is above or below the standard threshold, or a leak is detected, the smart-water sensor will send homeowners an automatic alert via the Grohe Ondus smartphone app.

Installed by a professional installer directly to the main water pipe of a home, the smart-water controller, Grohe Sense Guard, measures the system temperature to indicate the risk of frost, detects leaks, and shuts off the water supply automatically when a pipe bursts and water consumption passes a certain threshold. It also conducts periodic micro-leakage tests by measuring and tracking pressure drops in the water line so that the homeowner can detect leaks – through a notification via the Grohe Ondus smartphone app – immediately before major damage can occur. 

Full control with just one app

The Grohe Ondus app is the heart of the Grohe Sense and Grohe Sense Guard water management system. It provides the highest level of water security and allows continuous monitoring of Grohe Sense & Grohe Sense Guard – anywhere, anytime.

With the smartphone alert feature, the app can also shut off the water supply manually to prevent major damage. In addition, all measured data can be observed via the app. It supports Apple mobile devices with the iOS version of 9.0 or higher and Android mobile devices with Android 4.3 or higher.

For more information, please visit Grohe.ca

 

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Toronto homes web

GTA home prices continue to rise

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GTA home prices continue to rise

Toronto homes web

Greater Toronto Area average home prices continued their upward trajectory in November, rising 3.5 per cent year-over-year to $788,345, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

GTA realtors report 6,251 residential transactions through TREB’s MLS system in November 2018, down by 14.7 per cent compared to November 2017, when there was a temporary upward shift in demand caused by the looming OSFI-mandated stress test at the end of last year.

“New listings were actually down more than sales on a year-over-year basis in November,” President Garry Bhaura says. “This suggests that, in many neighbourhoods, competition between buyers may have increased. Relatively tight market conditions over the past few months have provided the foundation for renewed price growth.”

On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, sales were down by 3.4 per cent compared to October 2018.  The average selling price after preliminary seasonal adjustment was down by 0.8 per cent, compared to October 2018.

Average home prices, November

Toronto (416)
2018: $842,483
2017: $803,540

Rest of GTA (905)
2018: $750,721
2017: $732,848

GTA
2018: $788, 345
2017: $761,410

“Home types with lower average price points have been associated with stronger rates of price growth over the past few months,” says Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis. “Given the impact of the OSFI-mandated mortgage stress test and higher borrowing costs on affordability, it makes sense that the condo apartment and semi-detached market segments experienced relatively stronger rates of price growth in November, as market conditions in these segments remained tight or tightened respectively over the past year.”

Looking at the housing market from a policy perspective, TREB says it is encouraged with the provincial government’s recent announcement and on-going public consultation regarding a housing supply action plan.

“Housing supply remains a key issue in the GTA market,” says TREB CEO John Di Michele. “More specifically, an adequate supply and appropriate mix of housing types must be part of the conversation, as has been recognized by the provincial government in their consultation documents. Transit supportive and gentle density ‘missing middle’ housing should be a priority.”

 

GTA average prices and percentage gain by home type, November 2018

Detached: $1.01M, 1.3%
Semi-detached: $791,760, 8.3%
Townhome: $647,418, 3.1%
Condo: $556,723, 7.5%

TREB has commissioned research on these subjects and is holding a Market Outlook Economic Summit on Feb. 6, 2019.

“TREB is also encouraged that the provincial government remains committed to public transit expansion,” adds Di Michele. “TREB has long advocated for improvements to the Greater Golden Horseshoe transit and transportation network, and feels the time is right to have a conversation about the level of provincial and municipal responsibility that would be the most efficient arrangement to realize subway expansion sooner in Toronto, and the GTA, as this will impact the housing market.”

 

RELATED READING

GTA new home market gains further momentum in October

Delays in approval process contributing to housing affordability issue in GTA

7 factors that will affect GTA housing in 2019 – and 5 reasons to consider buying NOW

 

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EDITOR'S CHOICE: Podium Developments

New home buying opportunities abound in Oshawa and Durham Region

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New home buying opportunities abound in Oshawa and Durham Region

EDITOR'S CHOICE: Podium Developments
Ironwood Towns in North Oshawa by Podium Developments and Urban Capital

Despite the bad news this week that General Motors Canada plans to close assembly operations in Oshawa, there are some good new home buying opportunities in the city and elsewhere in Durham Region.

As various levels of government and the Unifor trade union vow to somehow keep the plant open or otherwise deal with the fallout of the decision, the housing sector in Oshawa is expected to shift into a buyers’ market.

That could mean deals for buyers in a market where home prices have already been under pressure.

 

Also read: What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa economy and housing

Also read: Oshawa housing to move into buyers’ market thanks to GM closure

 

For those looking to buy a new home, know that there are still plenty of good opportunities in Oshawa and surrounding area.

First, let’s look at recent new home buying activity in the area, courtesy of statistics from Altus Group, theofficial source for market intelligence for the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

 

Total new home sales, units

Oshawa Durham Region
Annual
2013          682       2,376
2014       1,108       3,130
2015          971       3,433
2016       1,149       5,344
2017          490       2,385
Jan-Oct
2017          483       2,262
2018            83       1,065
Source:  Altus Group

 

Naturally, the GM news is a sensitive topic to an industry such as home building, where companies dedicate years to planning and construction development projects. So don’t expect a comment any time soon from BILD, the voice of home builders in the GTA, or individual companies.

Might developers at some point offer deals – be they discounts or upgrades – in order to move an unsold inventory in a market not feeling the strongest at the moment?

It never hurts to ask.

 

A selection of new home and condo inventory

Ironwood in North Oshawa, Building Capital and Podium Developments, contemporary freehold townhomes

Harmony Creek, Conservatory Group, townhomes and detached homes

Daniels FirstHome Oshawa, townhomes

Brook Phase 2, Delpark Homes, detached homes

Fields of Harmony Phase IV, Greycrest Homes, detached homes

Harmony Gate, Sundance Homes, townhomes

Kingsview Ridge, Treasure Hill, 30-, 36- and 40-ft. singles

Park Ridge, Tribute Communities, detached homes from the low $900’s

U.C. Towns 2, Tribute Communities, townhomes form the low $600’s

Top of Townline, Woodland Homes, detached homes

For more new home buying opportunities, visit MyHomePage.ca

With files from Natalie Sicilia, New Home Research Manager & Map Editor

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Ontario web

Ontario government commits to housing action plan

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Ontario government commits to housing action plan

Ontario web
Steve Clark, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

The Ontario government says it is committed to a housing plan that makes more good quality places to live available for “the hardworking people of the province.”

“In communities all across Ontario, people are struggling to find housing they can afford,” says Steve Clark, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We’re taking action to help create more housing faster, give people more choice and bring down housing costs.”

Ontario is knocking down barriers to people getting housing they can afford that meets their needs, through:

 

  • Legislation that would make new rental units exempt from rent control, effective Nov. 15, 2018, while preserving rent increase limits for existing tenants
  • Ending the previous government’s expensive and ineffective Development Charges Rebate Program
  • Seeking public input on ways the government can remove barriers to building the right kind of housing in the right places. This input will inform a broader housing supply action plan. The consultation includes a downloadable toolkit so community groups can host local roundtables and share their thoughts with the province.

 

The demand for housing in Ontario has risen rapidly in recent years, driven by strong population growth and low interest rates. However, the supply of housing has not kept pace, leading to higher prices and rents.

Building more housing will also help make Ontario more attractive to businesses and investors, restoring the province to its rightful place as the economic engine of Canada.

“High housing costs are a barrier to job creators, large and small, because employees need affordable places to live,” says Todd Smith, minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Making housing more affordable will encourage people to start and grow businesses, right here at home.”

BILD reaction

“The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) of the GTA is very supportive of the development of a Housing Supply Action Plan for Ontario,” says David Wilkes, president and CEO. “Shortfall in supply is a key factor undermining housing affordability, increasing rents and creating barriers to home ownership. We applaud the Ford government’s commitment  to address key issues affecting the housing supply and ultimately the affordability of housing in the GTA.”

TREB approves

The Toronto Real Estate Board, for its part, applauds the Province’s announcement.

“The Toronto Real Estate Board applauds the provincial government for taking action to ensure that our city, region and province have an adequate supply and appropriate mix of housing,” TREB said in a release.

Nowhere are housing supply and mix issues more of a priority than in the GTA, where TREB’s 53,000 members operate, the association says. “TREB realtors work with home buyers and sellers every day and they see the challenges caused by inadequate supply and mix of housing.

“We look forward to participating in the provincial government’s consultation process on this issue and helping our region and province to remain one of the best places to live in the world.”

RELATED READING

Delays in approval process contributing to housing affordability issue in GTA

7 factors that will affect GTA housing in 2019 – and 5 reasons to consider buying NOW

5 steps to solving the housing affordability issue in Ontario

 

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House web

Oshawa housing to move into buyers’ market thanks to GM closure

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Oshawa housing to move into buyers’ market thanks to GM closure

House web

In one fell swoop, General Motors Canada’s announcement on Nov. 25 that it plans to close all assembly operations in Oshawa, Ont. effectively has pushed housing there into a buyers’ market.

“The announced General Motors plant closure will certainly impact Oshawa, and the trickle-down effect will be felt across the province,” Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president and regional director, ReMax Integra of Ontario-Atlantic Region, told Homes Publishing.

“However, it’s important to remember that GM isn’t the economic driver that it used to be in Durham Region. The area boasts a growing education sector and a new casino is slated to open in 2019, which will boost new condo development and housing demand. With the rise of remote work and no relief expected for Toronto house prices in 2019, Oshawa will continue to be a popular choice with first-time and move-up buyers who have been priced out of the 416.”

There you have it, prospective home buyers.

Opportunity knocks

While such a major employment hit is hardly an occasion to celebrate, these developments could mean opportunity for those looking to buy a home.

“The fact is that more than 2,500 GM workers will be left in the lurch come 2020, and the looming loss of income will likely prompt a softening of the market at a local level, as existing residents and prospective homebuyers digest the news and what it might mean for them,” says Alexander. “This coming closure, coupled with further interest rate increases in 2019, is likely to trigger a market shift from the current balanced territory, as homebuyers delay purchases, scale down lower-priced properties or move away in search of employment.”

Also read: What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa economy and housing

Also read: Focus on Whitby and Oshawa

Also read: 5 affordable neighbourhoods for detached homes in 416 and 905

Another real estate expert, Don R. Campbell, says the impact of the closure could take 18 to 24 months to play out fully in the region.

Diversified economy

Thankfully, there is more going for Oshawa and the Durham Region than just General Motors. Though it was once described as the “Automotive Capital of Canada,” in recent years the economy has diversified into education and health sciences. The University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Durham College and Trent University Durham and all have campuses in the city, among other economy-boosting facilities.

Indeed, in its latest Metropolitan Outlook, the Conference Board of Canada pegged Oshawa to be one of the strongest economies in the province for 2018. The Board forecast real GDP growth of 2.6 per cent this year, following 3.2 per cent in the last two years, citing strength in the non-residential construction, education, health care, finance and insurance sectors.

In addition, Statistics Canada figures show that Oshawa was one of the fastest growing cities in Ontario from 2011 to 2016, with 6.6 per cent population growth, second only to Guelph at 7.7 per cent. This, after growing 7.7 per cent from 2006 to 2011.

Importantly, for prospective home buyers, transportation improvements such as expanded GO Transit and the Hwy. 407 extension make it easier for people to live in Oshawa – at cheaper home prices – and commute to work in other areas such as Toronto. Another extension of the 407 eastward to neighbouring Clarington is due for 2020, further easing transportation options.

New home opportunities

Tomorrow, we’ll explore some of the opportunities to buy new homes in the Durham Region.

 

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Condos Oct web

GTA new home market gains further momentum in October

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GTA new home market gains further momentum in October

 Condos Oct web

The GTA new home market saw a relatively active month for new condominium apartment and single-family home sales and openings in October, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

There were 2,805 condominium apartments in low, medium and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units sold in October, down 44 per cent from October 2017 but only one per cent less than the 10-year average, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. Single-family home sales, with 491 detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses) sold, were even with last October and down 64 per cent from the 10-year average.

With 21 condominium apartment projects and 14 single-family home projects opening in October, remaining inventory increased to 16,283 units, comprised of 10,982 condo apartment units and 5,301 single-family units. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction and in completed buildings.

October best month

“The pickup in interest from builders and home buyers that started to emerge in the GTA new home market in September gained momentum in October,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “October was the best month we’ve seen this year not only in terms of sales – for both single-family homes and condominium apartments – but also new project openings. And for both sales and new openings, the increases from last month were stronger than the typical seasonal pattern.”

David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO, says the new home market’s gradual return to more typical activity levels was an encouraging sign. “It’s clear that when we are able to bring on more supply and give new home buyers more product to choose from, they get excited and motivated about making that choice. That’s why we are especially heartened by the new provincial government’s commitment to increasing housing supply through its Housing Supply Action Plan.”

Benchmark prices

The benchmark price for both condo apartments and single-family homes decreased slightly in October, compared to the previous month. The benchmark price for condo apartments was $775,537, which was still up 14.5 per cent over the last 12 months. The decrease in the benchmark price of condo apartments from September can be accounted for by the smaller benchmark size of units available to purchase. The benchmark price for single-family homes was $1.11 million, down 8.4 per cent over the last 12 months.

October new home sales by municipality

October 2018 Condominium Apartments Single-family Total
Region 2018 2017 2016 2018 2017 2016 2018 2017 2016
Durham 79 19 96 55 207 323 134 226 419
Halton 328 162 375 78 69 515 406 231 890
Peel 169 110 203 148 48 177 317 158 380
Toronto 2,133 4,085 1,478 74 28 14 2,207 4,113 1,492
York 96 613 336 136 139 621 232 752 957
GTA 2,805 4,989 2,488 491 491 1,650 3,296 5,480 4,138

 Source: Altus Group

RELATED READING

GTA new home market shows some improvement in September

New homes today offer countless benefits

Builders constantly improve energy efficiency of new homes

 

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Oshawa

What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa’s economy and housing market

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What the GM plant closure means for Oshawa’s economy and housing market

Oshawa

General Motors Canada has confirmed that it plans to close all assembly operations in Oshawa, Ont. after next year, leaving the community reeling with concern for the local economy and housing market.

And with good reason.

Auto manufacturing in the city of about 170,000 dates back as far as 1907, and the plant is still a major employer. It employs about 2,500 hourly and 400 salaried workers, with many more engineers working at GM’s adjacent Regional Engineering Centre.

Oshawa Mayor John Henry has said the closure would have ripple effects well beyond the city, hurting businesses and families throughout the Durham Region.

“From a personal finance perspective, this news is devastating for the people of Oshawa,” says Rubina Ahmed-Haq, personal finance expert. “Not only the ones whose jobs will be affected and have the obvious financial impact of losing a steady income. But, also those who depend on those workers to run their businesses – everything from restaurants to dry cleaners to places of interest around the area will be impacted. As well as property values, which are already much lower in Oshawa compared to other parts of the GTA, will take a further hit.”

Durham Region home prices

Illustrating Ahmed-Haq’s point, home prices in the Durham Region have already been feeling the pinch.

 

Historical average home prices, Durham Region
2018: $591,739 (as of October)
2017: 624,225
2016: $528,475
2015: $439,842
2014: $388,610
2013: $354,548

Source: Canadian Real Estate Association

 

Values continued to decrease during the third quarter of 2018, according to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey. Over the three-month period, the aggregate home price in Oshawa and Ajax decreased 2.8 per cent and six per cent year-over-year to $538,757 and $664,640, respectively. Home values in Pickering also depreciated when compared to the same time last year by 4.4 per cent to $709,260, and the aggregate price in Whitby decreased 3.5 per cent to $677,243.

Oshawa median home prices

Standard two-storey homes
Q3 2018 $557,071
Q3 2017 $576,922
Q/Q % change 0.8
Yr/yr % change -3.4

Detached bungalows
Q3 2018 $512,001
Q3 2017 $517,237
Q/Q % change 2.3
Yr/yr % change -1.2

Standard condos
Q3 2018 $278,224
Q3 2017 $281,864
Q/Q % change 0.3
Yr/yr % change -1.3

Aggregate
Q3 2018 $538,757
Q3 2017 $554,070
Q/Q % change 1.2
Yr/yr % change -2.8

Source: Royal LePage National House Price Composite, October 2018

 

What we can expect in the housing market

“After an announcement such as this, we often witness an immediate softening of purchase demand in the city and its surrounds, while the shock and reality of the situation settles in,” Don R. Campbell, real estate expert and author told HOMES Publishing. “This slowdown doesn’t hit the stats immediately, as there are a lot of deals that are already in the process of closing in the next couple of months. However, come February, the numbers begin to reflect the new reality. That is phase one.

“Phase two is when average sale prices begin to fall, as confidence in the market begins to slip further. In other scenarios, it is just a sign of a move ‘down-market’ or to lower priced properties. However, in today’s world, the existing ‘stress-test’ will be combined with this lack of confidence to exacerbate the normal situation.”

A third phase may follow eight months to a year after the actual closure, when EI benefits begin to run to the end of their course, confidence in the potential return of the GM jobs begins to fade and families have to start making big decisions of relocation to find new appropriate jobs.

“In other words,” Campbell says, “the announcement of and the subsequent closing of the plant kicks off a predictable but sad ripple effect that will last for years.”

If there is one potential saving grace in this news, it’s that Oshawa and the surrounding area has a more diverse economy than in the past, which will help slightly buffer the pain, says Campbell.

“However, the pain is coming and it is real and far reaching.”

The Oshawa plant is not the only facility to be affected by GM’s decision to “accelerate its transformation for the future.” Two locations in the Detroit area are also scheduled to be shut down, which could have spillover affects in related industries across the border in the Windsor, Ont. area.

RELATED READING

Oshawa housing to move into buyers’ market thanks to GM closure

New home buying opportunities abound in Oshawa and Durham Region

Focus on Whitby and Oshawa

6 Ontario municipal elections to watch regarding housing

 

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Markham City Hall

Markham commits to becoming Canada’s largest net-zero emissions city

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Markham commits to becoming Canada’s largest net-zero emissions city

 Markham City Hall

The City of Markham has set out to become a net-zero emissions city by 2050, as a result of a collaboration with Mattamy Homes Canada and Enwave Energy Corp.

The partners have announced an arrangement to research and design a pilot of about 300 homes in the Berczy-Glen neighbourhood, serviced by a community-scale distributed geothermal energy system for heating, cooling and domestic hot water.

“This is first major step to achieving our goal of becoming net-zero water, waste and emissions community by 2050, and this one of many innovative initiatives you will see with development partners,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “Markham is a municipal leader in energy conservation and management. This project will set the standard for a new way of thinking about how we generate and distribute energy in North America.”

Model community

“This forward-thinking business model, where the burden of optimizing advanced heating and cooling equipment is transferred from the home owner to a private entity, will contribute to job creation and drive innovation adoption in the housing industry,” adds Brad Carr, CEO of Mattamy Homes Canada. “Mattamy has a long history of leadership in home building innovation, and we see this partnership as clearly aligned with our sustainability and innovation strategy.”

Read more: Markham, the city has grown up

Read more: 6 Ontario municipal elections to watch regarding housing

To achieve Markham’s target, the Municipal Energy Plan – Getting to Zero includes strategies for increasing and improving energy efficiency through implementing green technology, energy conservation and efficiency in all sectors of Markham.

Grant funding has been provided by The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) for design activities.

Located in north Markham, the community in Berczy-Glen will utilize deep wells up to 250 metres, allowing the community to tap into geothermal energy. Heating and cooling will be delivered at the neighborhood level, through a single common ambient pipe buried underneath the community and connected to each home, similar to that of an electrical grid. The system will be maintained and operated by Enwave’s team of engineers, who will ensure the system is efficient and reliable.

Consumer benefit

This community scale model boasts several benefits to consumers, including: Greater energy efficiency through optimization; increased energy savings; reduced maintenance burden and costs; and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. All of these benefits will increase comfort and convenience for residents.

Upon completion of the pilot, the model may be applied to future phases of the Mattamy development. The best practices and lessons learned from this partnership will help advance geothermal community energy systems across the GTA and beyond.

Construction is expected to begin in 2020.

How the geothermal system will work

  • Geothermal energy supplies space heating and cooling, as well as hot water, to each home
  • A closed loop piping system is installed 600 to 800 ft. underground, creating a ground heat exchanger
  • In winter, heat is extracted from the ground by circulating fluid through the pipes
  • The heater water is then circulated throughout the community and into individual homes
  • After the heated fluid is delivered to each home, the cooled fluid circulates back to the ground

 

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