Outlook 2020 – Jared Menkes, Executive Vice-President, Menkes High Rise
Part of our series of Outlook 2020 Q&As with building industry executives
Condo Life: What is the outlook for the new home industry in 2020?
Menkes: This year will continue to be a year of low supply and high demand, which will keep housing prices high, especially in prime locations. Overall, the 905 has experienced the largest growth, and will continue to grow, however the largest demand continues to be for housing along mass transit. Vaughan, in particular, will continue to be a very desirable location.
Housing supply will continue to fall short of meeting demand. RBC reported that Toronto CMA needs 22,000 new rental apartments and rented condominium units per year to satisfy demand between 2019 and 2023.
RBC also says that even if we anticipate that 70 per cent of all new condos are rented, and we have 4,000 new purpose-built rental apartments in the GTA every year, we still wouldn’t hit that 22,000-unit mark.
CL: And for Menkes?
Menkes: From a highrise perspective, sales for our projects in 2019 were strong and continue to demonstrate that people desire walkable communities in proximity to transit. Sugar Wharf on the Toronto waterfront was named the bestselling condo project in Canada for 2018, then we had a top-selling mixed-density project in Vaughan with Mobilio. With that success, we’ve moved to an even bigger four-tower project nearby, which will launch this year. Our prime locations, combined with the fact the city continues to experience a housing shortage, leads me to believe that we’ll experience strong sales in 2020.
CL: What is your company doing to address the issues facing the homebuilding industry – namely, affordability and new home supply?
Menkes: With many families priced out of the downtown core, they’re looking for more affordable options in the 905. At Mobilio, one of our most recent projects in Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC), we’re offering a mix of housing types on one site, so we’re catering to every type of family and lifestyle. Since the community is close to Vaughan’s new subway station and all that VMC will offer over the next decade – including offices, shops and restaurants – we’re also fulfilling the desire to live in an urban setting at a more affordable price than downtown.
As the largest employment centre in York Region, Vaughan is becoming an increasingly desirable option for both young professionals and families. Festival, our latest highrise project in VMC, will be a four-tower community which will fulfill the area’s fundamental need for more density.
Clearly, family-friendly condos are an increasingly important segment in the market. Menkes will continue to deliver projects that offer familyfriendly amenities such as playrooms, entertaining spaces and co-work areas.
Townhomes, such as the ones we launched at Mobilio in Vaughan, are also offering families a more affordable option in an urban setting. We will continue to offer more townhomes with our Lake & Town project that will be coming to South Etobicoke this year.
CL: What more could the industry do to address these issues?
Menkes: We need a healthier, more balanced market. People don’t have choices right now. The City and Province need to take a look at getting more supply on the market, and developers simply need to continue to build more product. Regardless of whether new housing is “affordable,” more supply will eventually lead to lesser discrepancy between supply and demand, and therefore reduce costs in the long run.
CL: What should prospective new-home buyers know about your company for 2020?
Menkes: Our reputation speaks for itself, but if buyers want to know the quality of a Menkes building, they can tour one of our buildings themselves. We are very proud of all our projects and believe the best way for buyers to educate themselves on builders is to actually see their work.
CL: Why should prospective new-home buyers consider buying from your company in 2020?
Menkes: There has increasingly been a flight to quality by prospective homeowners, opting for brands they know and trust, and we are fortunate to be one of those brands. We have reputation as one of Toronto’s top builders because not only do we take pride in the quality of our work, but we continue to deliver. We take it very seriously that people are investing their life savings with us.
Also, it’s important for builders to be innovative and to shift as homeowner needs and trends change. We have done this in the past – as we saw the trend to more families living in highrise buildings – and we will continue to do so.
We also manage our projects, which puts us at an advantage because we have the opportunity to get daily feedback on the management and operations of our buildings, and we strive to continuously improve.
Special Report: Outlook 2020