Municipal candidates aware of housing needs – TREB poll
With municipal elections only days away, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has released recommendations on what newly elected councillors, mayors, and regional chairs across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) can do to ensure housing affordability and choice for homebuyers and renters.
TREB also released the results of responses received from more than 200 municipal election candidates from across the GTA. Candidates were asked to respond to a TREB survey asking for their views on key housing issues that are the subject of TREB’s recommendations.
Both the policy briefs and candidate survey responses can be viewed at UnlockMyHousingOptions.com
“A recent poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs showed that housing affordability was a top-of-mind issue for voters in this election,” says TREB President Garry Bhaura. “Housing affordability is a priority for voters, and they want it to be a priority for the incoming municipal councils. Based on the candidate survey responses that TREB received, it appears that housing affordability is also a priority for many candidates.”
- 95 per cent of responding candidates in Toronto, and 86 per cent of responding GTA candidates, indicated that, if elected, they would advocate for updating municipal zoning by-laws and policies to encourage more medium density housing.
- 85 per cent of responding Toronto candidates indicated that they would be willing to consider reforms to the Toronto Land Transfer Tax to adjust it for inflation; 84 per cent of responding GTA candidates indicated that they would, if elected, oppose proposals for any new municipal land transfer tax.
- 85 per cent of responding Toronto candidates, and 79 per cent of responding GTA candidates, indicated that they would support efforts to reduce planning approval times and red tape to facilitate new housing supply.
- 97 per cent of responding Toronto candidates, and 96 per cent of responding GTA candidates, indicated that they would, if elected, advocate for funding from senior levels of government for infrastructure investments.
TREB has also released three new policy briefs on “missing middle” housing supply, housing-related municipal red tape, and infrastructure needs for housing supply, in addition to a brief issued earlier in the campaign on the impact of municipal land transfer taxes. TREB’s recommendations call for newly elected municipal councils to support the creation of much needed housing supply and options.
TREB is calling on councils to:
- Review municipal zoning by-laws and consider changes to allow for more mid-density development such as townhomes.
- Resist community opposition and work with neighbourhoods by improving communication strategies to articulate the ability of mid-density developments to be seamlessly integrated into existing neighbourhoods.
- Prevent any new municipal land transfer taxes in the rest of the GTA.
- Reform the Toronto Land Transfer Tax to adjust the first-time home buyer rebate, and the threshold price at which the higher tax rate kicks in, for inflation, so both keep pace with the current average home price in Toronto now sitting at around $800,000.
- Conduct reviews of municipal planning approval processes for new housing applications with a goal of streamlining and shortening the process.
- Recognize the importance of infrastructure as it relates to housing supply and affordability, and move ahead with critical projects and investments such as regional transit as a key part of strategies targeted to addressing housing needs.
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Registration is open for the 2020 NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS), the largest annual home renovation and residential construction show in the world. The show, owned and operated by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) offers special registration discounts for international delegations.
IBS will return to the Las Vegas Convention Center, Jan. 21 to 23, where it will again co-locate with the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s (NKBA) Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) for the seventh annual Design & Construction Week (DCW). The two shows are expected to host more than 2,000 exhibiting brands spanning more than one million net sq. ft. of exhibit space, for the largest annual gathering of the residential design and construction industry.
“It’s our goal for the NAHB International Builders’ Show to be the event of the year for our members and industry professionals,” says NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde, a homebuilder and developer from Torrington, Conn. “Nowhere else will you find top-level education sessions, a variety of networking opportunities, special events and an exhibit hall full of innovative products all in one place. This is truly an event you can’t miss.”
Attendees with a full conference registration will have access to more than 150 education sessions led by renowned experts on a wide range of industry topics. New this year, Master Workshops, previously known as Master Sessions, will be held on Monday, Jan. 20, the day before the show officially kicks off as part of pre-show education and will be open to all registered show attendees for an additional fee.
IBS will again feature six Centrals that offer specific areas of focus within the building industry with their own schedule of events. A variety of activities are available inside the Centrals including workshops, networking events, roundtable discussions and guided product tours of the exhibit hall. The High-Performance Building Zone will feature real-world construction demonstrations, and IBS Live will host presentations focused on what’s next in homebuilding. Additionally, the IBS show floor will feature the CEDIA Pavilion, a space showcasing exhibitors which specialize in technology solutions for the home.
The 2020 show will kick off on the morning of Jan. 21 with an Opening Ceremonies event featuring basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson. That evening, OMNIA Nightclub at Caesars Palace will host the Official IBS House Party. Other events throughout the week include the Young Pro Party Wednesday night at On The Record at Park MGM, followed by the IBS Closing Concert Thursday night with a performance by award-winning rock band, the Doobie Brothers.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to tour NAHB’s official IBS show homes, The New American Home (TNAH) and The New American Remodel (TNAR). The homes are designed to showcase innovative building technologies, emerging design trends and the latest building products. The showcase products in the homes are provided by members of the NAHB Leading Suppliers Council.
Groups of five or more international IBS registrants can take advantage of exclusive registration discounts and special show benefits when starting a delegation. Delegates receive complimentary expo pass registrations for their group, as well as discounts on 1-day education and full registrations. For a full list of offerings, visit: buildersshow.com/delegation.
The NAHB International Builders’ Show is not open to the general public. Renovation professionals and their affiliates are invited to register by visiting the show’s website at buildersshow.com.
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At FarSight Homes, built by three generations of the Schickedanz family, foundation is everything. We spoke with General Manager Johnathan Schickedanz, incoming president of the Durham Region Home Builders' Association, for his thoughts on all this and more.
HOMES Magazine: How's 2019 shaping up for FarSight Homes, and how does 2020 look?
Johnathan Schickedanz: It has been a slow start for FarSight in 2019 on the sales front, but we are not alone. As the market is finding its resting spot from the recent rise, fall and pause in home pricing, consumers are sitting on the sidelines to see where the floor is.
It looks like change is in the air, though. Over the past few months, traffic has picked up at our Alliston sales office, where we are marketing our newly released Beeton Creek at West Country project. Consumer confidence seems to be returning to the north GTA market, and sales numbers are on the rise. FarSight is optimistically looking forward to 2020 as an all-round better year, as we continue to sell and build in Beeton. Also, the hope is that we will be bringing our new Alliston site, an infill site located in the heart of Alliston, to market. It's a condo project that will offer a more price effective option to the local market.
HM: FarSight Homes has some great communities in areas outside the GTA core, such as Beeton, Alliston, Bowmanville and Pickering. Why these locations?
JS: FarSight is a family owned and operated business that has benefitted from generations of knowledge and expertise on knowing how to select developments that will not only offer value to our customers, but be a great investment for our purchasers.
HM: Where do you see the next opportunities for lowrise homebuyers?
JS: The future is looking good for future homebuyers of lowrise product. The provincial government is committed to seeing growth in the housing market to assist with the ever-increasing demand. It has also placed an emphasis on the industry to look into options on how we can supply more varying housing types and styles. So, future projects will likely be comprised of a greater mix of housing styles and price points to meet the needs of the different byers.
The other interesting policy piece is the ability and support the province is offering for the development of secondary suites. This will bring the opportunity for homebuyers to gain revenue off a portion of their home they wouldn't otherwise, providing multi-generational housing where families can live together.
HM: You were just honoured by the Durham Region Home Builders' Association (DRHBA) at the President's Ball. What does this honour mean to you?
JS: It's a truly humbling moment to be honored as the 68th president of the DRHBA. This association is rich in history and many presidents who have preceded me are people I look up to in the industry. I look forward to the year ahead and can honestly say that I have little to be worried about. This is due to the support I have from both the board of directors and DRHBA staff. With this much expertise in one place, only great things will be accomplished. Also, I am thankful to be able to give back to an industry that has provided so much for me and my family. I am a third generation builderdeveloper, and I and can say there is no other business that I could imagine being involved in.
Photo: Sabrina Byrnes
HM: In your view, what qualities and characteristics did DRHBA honour you for?
JS: Hard working, and a commitment to the association and industry.
HM: What have you learned from growing up in a family of developers that led you to where you are today?
JS: The market is cyclical and it will go through ups and downs, so be prepared.
The best way to learn about the business is a hands-on approach from the bottom up. I wasn't handed an office position right out of school, but was challenged to learn as many trades and skills as possible. My family believes that the best leaders lead by example.
HM: What's next for FarSight Homes?
JS: FarSight has just completed its first "Savings by Design" workshop, sponsored by Enbridge Gas Distribution. In this program, the coordinator brings together the trades, suppliers and the building scientists in one room where we are able to discuss opportunities for FarSight to build better-than-code homes. Through this program, I was made aware of the new developments in insulating products and air barrier systems that will allow us to build next generation homes. Also, this program has provided us the road map on the required steps to take our homes from where they are and to get them to net zero ready. Over the next year, we are looking to implement numerous new practices into our building program and are committed to building better-than-code homes for our purchasers.
AND ON A PERSONAL NOTE…
HM: Your uncle Bob is the new president of the OHBA. How exciting is that for the family?
It has been an exciting time for our family! Today, we have three generations involved in the development and building business in Toronto. And now that Bob has been elected as the latest OHBA president, it has allowed our family to start to give back to an industry that has given so much to us.
In 1951, my grandfather and his cousins opened Schickedanz Brothers Ltd., with the goal of developing exceptional communities and quality homes. And now three generations later, we are still following the same dreams. Having Bob now meeting with industry leaders around the province gives testament to the dedication our family has to this industry and the betterment of communities and homes for the future generations.
HM: What are you doing when you're not at the office or on a development site?
I'm an outdoors and cottage kind of person and look forward to time spent with my wife, two daughters and dog.
I have my pilots licence and enjoy time in the air.
I also usually have a number of projects on the go that involve metal fabrication and welding, fibreglass and paint work or mechanical repair and/or restoration.
I'm a true do-it-yourselfer. Never afraid to get my hands dirty and take on a project.
I enjoy travelling to different places to see different types of architecture – preferably warmer places!
- Beeton Creek at West Country, Beeton, Now open
- Greenfields, Alliston, Now open
- Timber Trails, Bowmanville, Coming soon
- Forest Creek, Pickering, Coming soon
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