Tag Archives: 2019 housing market

From one strong year to another

From one strong year to another

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From one strong year to another

The days are shorter, we wake up and go home in the dark, snow is often on the horizon, and the holiday season is now behind us. And, yet again, the seven-year cycle is defied; year 22 of the real estate cycle has come and gone. The market remains great for buyers, as the choices are out there and buying remains the right choice for those who can.

Indeed, 2019 was another strong year for the condo market. Even as new condos have increased in price in recent years, they still remain a more affordable option than detached homes, which remain somewhat scarce and pricey.

However, navigating throughout the GTA remains a challenge, given traffic and transit issues, and looks like it will for a while. New subway lines and public transit – both very necessary – are great, but these infrastructure improvements can’t come fast enough to keep pace with the new home and condo demand.

Despite these challenges, 2019 is highlighted by stories of very strong sales in the condo world. Downtown Toronto, Vaughan, midtown and some impressive new projects throughout the 905 region and beyond are set to rise soon. The market keeps growing.

In 2019, the housing market overall continued to rebound, as prices settled into place and buyers took advantage. Townhomes and urban (stacked) townhomes became a more prevalent housing type, as they appeared throughout parts of the GTA and were well received by new-home buyers.

One particular success story in this market segment, in a neighbourhood close to my North York roots, is Sheppard West. Steps from the Sheppard subway, a new community known as Greenwich Village will be taking shape next year. A dozen or so bungalows that front onto Sheppard will soon be demolished, welcoming approximately 150 new urban and traditional townhomes offering top-of-the-line finishes, two- and three-storey homes offering two- and three-bedroom variations, starting in the $700,000 range, a fraction of what it costs to buy a resale home in this established neighbourhood.

Concrete construction, flexible home designs and clever architecture make this new community a very special place to be, and what will undoubtedly be an important addition to a neighbourhood that should continue to appreciate. Just the right opportunity at the right time, something that allows people to stay in or come to a valuable neighbourhood at an attractive price. Something we dearly need throughout our desirable city.

Mark Cohen is a founding partner of The Condo Store Marketing Systems, a firm specializing in the design, marketing and sales of condo and new home communities in and outside of the GTA.


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Three opportunities to positively impact housing in 2019

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Three opportunities to positively impact housing in 2019

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In 2018, the underlying issues impacting housing supply in the GTA and in turn the impacts on housing affordability, cost of living and its broader societal impact were a defining part of the public debate of the future of our region. Population growth combined with restrictive regulations, bureaucratic red tape, added costs and infrastructure challenges have created a generational challenge for the region. As we look forward, there are three opportunities to have a positive impact on these issues in 2019.

Housing Supply Action Plan

In late November, the government of Ontario announced that it would be developing a Housing Supply Action Plan. The provincial government rightly recognized that strong demand for housing and limited supply in Ontario has resulted in rapidly rising housing costs over the last few years, and that in fast growing areas like the GTA, high housing costs and rents are squeezing families and individuals out of the market. The Province is looking at what can be done to speed up the approval process so new housing can be built at a faster pace, how to encourage the right housing mix to be built, and the impact that high land costs and fees and taxes are having on housing prices. In addition, the action plan will look at home rental and ownership, not simply one or the other. These important initiatives are a great opportunity to begin to address the fundamental causes of housing affordability.

Revisit the stress test

While the issue of housing affordability is firmly on the provincial agenda, pressure is now growing on the federal government to consider the impacts of its mandated mortgage stress test. The program has succeeded in balancing the hot 2017 market, but is having a disproportionate impact on young and first-time homebuyers. The test, in effect, reduces the maximum amount of a mortgage that a home purchaser can borrow by roughly 20 per cent. Young and first-time homebuyers are the most likely to borrow close to their maximums, however, they also have the longest horizons for repayment and are often in the growth phase of their careers and earning potential. A growing chorus of industry professionals are urging Ottawa to fine-tune the approach and perhaps the potential for a one-time, longer amortization period for first-time buyers can provide some relief in 2019.

Lastly, municipalities can no longer ignore the issue or the role they must play as a partner to industry and the other levels of government in finding meaningful solutions to this issue.

Municipal involvement

During the fall municipal elections, voters in the GTA ranked housing affordability as a top priority for new local governments and the need to increase housing supply as a key mechanism to address  affordability was supported by nine out of 10 respondents to an IPSOS poll conducted by the industry last fall. With new councils and mandates in place, now is the time for new ideas.

This must be the year of action on this issue. With the arrival of 115,000 new residents to the GTA every year, and as we fall short in providing new housing at the levels required, we cannot afford to wait.

Dave 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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