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The housing outlook for 2019

GTA among the most promising new home outlooks for 2019, Altus Group says

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GTA among the most promising new home outlooks for 2019, Altus Group says

The new home sector in Canada had a challenging year in 2018, but markets in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, including the GTA, have among the most promising outlooks for 2019, according to Altus Group.

Increased regulations, higher interest rates, new taxes and higher Development Charges are testing the industry,  Altus Group says in its New Home Outlook for 2019.

Altus Group is a leading provider of software, data solutions and independent advisory services to the global commercial real estate industry, and tracks new home development and sales activity across the country.

At the start of 2018, the supply of available new homes in both the Vancouver and Toronto markets was constrained, particularly in the condominium apartment sector. The lack of available product contributed to the rapid rise in pricing in 2017 and impacted sales volumes at the start of 2018.

In Alberta, the new home sector, along with the rest of the housing market, continued to be impacted by low energy prices and weaker economic activity. The opposite was the case in Montreal, where a sharp increase in demand for new homes led to peak sales levels.

The outlook at the end of 2017 was that the market would continue to see reasonably strong demand in 2018, but sales would be impacted by the new mortgage regulations and other new policies, taxes, and regulations – the degree to which was unknown.

Looking at 2018’s market performance year-to-date, Altus can see that demand was impacted in the major markets, most significantly in the single-family and higher-end townhouse segments. New condominium apartment sales have also moderated in Vancouver and Toronto where the incredibly strong demand seen in 2017 has softened in the current year. Some of the moderation is normalization from the frenzied market pace noted in recent years.

KEY FINDINGS

Greater Toronto Area

The GTA market came off a record new condominium apartment sales year in 2017. However, the impacts of mortgage rule changes and new development charges contributed to a decline in project launches and lower sales to start the year. Sales and project launch activity have increased in the back half of the year, but year-to-date sales remain down by almost 50 per cent compared to 2017.

While sales have been lower, pricing for new condominium apartment product in the downtown area has remained fairly stable with overall average prices trending towards $800,000.

New single-family sales continued to decline in 2018. Although availability of product to purchase has increased, it remains beyond the reach of most buyers.

Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo

Markets outside of the GTA have continued to benefit from their relative affordability compared to Toronto, particularly in Kitchener-Waterloo, where the new supply of condominium apartment product experienced strong demand in 2018. Both markets benefit from markedly better pricing compared to the GTA, where lower average prices for both new condominium apartment and single-family housing makes it a much more buyer-friendly market.

Promised improvements to transit, which will take several years to implement, will enhance commuting options throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe, thus providing greater opportunities to live in markets outside of the GTA.

Montreal

Montreal saw a strong increase in new home sales over the past three years and continues to experience robust demand for new condominium apartment homes. Given the growth in sales, many of the challenges seen in the other large markets have started to impact Montreal – rising costs, elevated inventories of under construction product and increased investment activity. Despite the challenges, year-to-date sales activity remains strong and is trending slightly higher than last year.

Edmonton

The Edmonton market has been facing challenges from elevated inventory levels, a large stock of completed and unsold new homes and the impact that weak energy prices is having on housing demand. Consumers’ mortgage qualification has become a more significant challenge for new home projects, resulting in a year-over-year decline in sales levels by almost 50 per cent for both townhouse and condominium apartment product. The slow pace of sales has also meant that several projects have shifted to purpose-built rental.

While the market has been slow, there are some bright spots with development in the Ice District experiencing reasonably strong demand, along with well-priced townhouse developments in the suburban markets.

Calgary

The Calgary market is performing stronger in 2018, with increased sales of both new condominium apartment and townhouse product on a year-over-year basis. This growth has been exclusively in the suburban markets where new condominium apartment and townhouse sales have exceeded 2017 numbers.

While sales in the suburbs are tracking higher, the inner city and downtown markets are seeing weaker demand and lower sales volumes with higher office vacancy and lower downtown employment impacting housing demand near the core. Conversely, the strongest new home sales in the suburbs have been occurring in regions near employment centres.

Vancouver

Leading into 2018, the Vancouver market was the tightest of the markets examined, in terms of available new homes with only 1.8 months of inventory. This year, new project launches, particularly along transit lines and in the Fraser Valley, have added much needed inventory and boosted the supply to 3.3 months of inventory – although this remains the lowest in the country.

The frenzied pace in the market has softened with the sales rate at launch moderating, while price growth has stopped and even pulled back in certain segments of the market. A key challenge that has become more apparent as of late has been the price sensitivity of consumers, with higher-priced projects, or those priced above the competition, experiencing below average sales rates.

2019 Outlook

The outlook for housing demand in 2019 remains positive across the country with elevated immigration levels, continued demand from first-time homebuyers and tight rental vacancies and elevated rents encouraging homeownership. The key pressures that Altus Group sees continuing to impact the new home market in 2019 are higher interest rates and housing affordability constraints, rising construction costs and development charges impacting developers, and weaker economic growth potential in certain regions constraining demand.

Across the major markets in Canada, Altus Group believes the markets in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, including the GTA, have the most upside potential for an increase in sales activity in 2019 given the depth of the decline in 2018 and building off of the sales recovery noted in the back half of 2018.

Calgary and Edmonton will continue to be impacted by the weaker economy, but are not forecast to experience a material decline in overall sales volumes given the current levels of activity in each market.

The two markets that may see a decline in sales activity in 2019 are Montreal and Vancouver – but for very different reasons. Montreal had a strong sales year in 2018 and 2019 volumes are expected to decline as the market returns to more normal conditions. The Vancouver market, which is currently exhibiting the most potential for downside risk, is expected to see a modest decline in sales volumes as consumers react to higher borrowing costs and developers react to escalating construction costs in the face of lower revenue opportunities. With that said, the sales volumes in 2019 are still anticipated to be at or close to the 10-year sales average for the market.

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New home market sees prices holding steady

New home market sees prices holding steady

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New home market sees prices holding steady

Sales of new homes in the GTA slowed down in July while prices held steady, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced last week.

Total July new home sales of 1,071 units were down 44 per cent from last July and down 55 per cent from the 10-year average, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. Sales of new condominium apartments in low, medium and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, at 855 units sold, were down 52 per cent from July 2017 and down 40 per cent from the 10-year average.

Sales of new single-family homes, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses), at 216 units sold, were up 85 per cent from last July — a month that saw the lowest single-family home sales in decades, with 117 units sold — but still 77 per cent below the 10-year average.

The benchmark price of new condominium apartments was $774,759, up 16.5 per cent from last July, but virtually unchanged from last month. The benchmark price of new single-family homes was $1,142,574, down 13.2 per cent from last July and just 0.85 per cent above last month.

“New home sales in the GTA typically take a breather in the summer months compared to the spring,” explained Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president. “This July was no exception, although minimal new project launches in July, along with declining affordability of new condominium apartments due to recent price escalation, amplified the June-to-July decline in sales somewhat this year.”

With only two projects opening in July, the total remaining new home inventory decreased to 14,784 units, comprised of 9,931 condo apartment units and 4,853 single-family units. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction and in completed buildings.

“We are still seeing a shortfall in condo apartment inventory,” said Dave Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. “Given the current pace of sales, we should have nine to 12 months worth of inventory, but we only have five. We expect that more condo apartment product will become available in the fall.”

Wilkes added that affordability remains an issue for many buyers.

“The prices of new homes are affected by, among other factors, the fees, taxes and charges added by all levels of government,” he said. “Municipalities have the most direct influence over affordability and supply of new housing, so leading up to the October 22 municipal elections, we are inviting people to send an email to their local candidates, asking them to make housing a priority.”

July New Home Sales by Municipality**:

July 2018 Condominium Apartments Single-family Total
Region 2018 2017 2016 2018 2017 2016 2018 2017 2016
Durham 9 27 162 44 60 376 53 87 538
Halton 40 18 76 21 13 45 61 31 121
Peel 147 148 180 88 0 101 235 148 281
Toronto 568 1,134 1,645 1 9 114 569 1,143 1,759
York 91 471 187 62 35 286 153 506 473
GTA 855 1,798 2,250 216 117 922 1,071 1,915 3,172

Source: Altus Group


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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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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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The Consultant: Time to get building in Brantford, Kitchener and Collingwood.

The Consultant: Time to get building in Brantford, Kitchener and Collingwood.

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The Consultant: Time to get building in Brantford, Kitchener and Collingwood.

by Ben Myers

The next hot areas

Demand for new housing in the GTA has never been higher. According to Altus Group data, the benchmark price for available new single-family homes was $1,225,774 in December, a 23.2 per cent annual increase. The benchmark price for available new condominium apartments was $716,772 at the end of 2017, 41.3 per cent above the average value from December 2016. And for the second consecutive year, new condo sales set a record high. So the industry must be building more homes than ever, right?

Actually, no. Housing starts in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (TCMA) reached 38,700 in 2017 according to CMHC, only slightly above the 10-year average of 36,800, but down 1 per cent from last year. There is a massive backlog of projects that have experienced strong absorption, but have yet to break ground due to a shortage of construction companies. The average single-detached home took 11 months to complete in 2017, the highest total ever tracked by CMHC, and it took 13.5 months to complete a semi and 14 months to complete a townhouse, both record highs. It took over two and a half years to finish construction on the average apartment (condo and rental) in the Toronto CMA last year, the second highest annual result to date.

Some buyers tired of waiting for new home deliveries are looking outside the region. According to Bullpen’s Residential Real Estate Round Up Report, the most popular destinations in December for prospective new homebuyers outside the GTA were Hamilton and Guelph. New homes are delivered much quicker in both of those markets. In fact, CMHC reports that it took just six months on average to build a single-detached home in Guelph last year. However, the prices are not as inexpensive as they used to be. Our report shows that the average new project in Hamilton has new single-family units starting from about $1,600 a square foot for about $570,000, while Guelph projects have lowrise product starting from $1,700/sf for $625,000.

GTA buyers are taking notice of these more affordable markets. Ryan Waller of Home Group Realty Group in Guelph estimates that a quarter of all resale transactions in Guelph were to GTA buyers based on the fact that 25.5 per cent of buyers were represented by GTA real estate agents in 2017.

With the new mortgage stress test in place, and GTA new home price growth through the roof, the next hot area for new homes will probably be outside the region. Based on our numbers, look for strength in the Brantford, Kitchener and Collingwood new home markets in 2018.

Ben Myers is President of Bullpen Research & Consulting.

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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

bildgta.ca


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

altusgroup.com


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Predictions for the 2018 real estate market

Welcome to 2018!

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Welcome to 2018!

The only safe prediction for the real estate market for this year is that it will be unpredictable.

by Gale Beeby
HPG Editor-in-Chief

As we head into the Year of the Dog, the only thing I can predict with absolute certainty is that are as many diverse opinions about the state of the real market in the GTA as there are breeds listed by the Canadian Kennel Club.

According to the Chinese zodiac, the dog — full of energy, faithful and intelligent — has a long-held position as the protector of the home and as man’s best friend. So, regardless of what the economists say will happen, perhaps it is an auspicious year for the homebuyers.

MY TOP FIVE PREDICTIONS

Rough Time For First-Time Buyers

This is the sector of the market that is being hit hardest by new government policies, especially the new mortgage qualification stress test imposed by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OFSI). The rule requires anybody buying a property with less than a 20 per cent down payment of their own money (not mom and dad’s) be qualified for their mortgage at either the Bank of Canada’s rate of 4.99 per cent or with an extra 2 per cent added to their approved mortgage rate. Experts think this might eliminate about 10 per cent of buyers out of the market. Many will put off buying a new home until they can save enough money for a down payment under the new rules.

Interest Rates Will Rise

I know, we’ve been hearing that interest rates will increase the last few years, but the Bank of Canada raised the rate in July and September to its current rate of 1 per cent, up from a record low of 0.5 per cent. Experts differ on when — and how much — the Bank of Canada will raise rates, but they do all agree that rates are going up. I’m betting they are and I’m locking in my mortgage in the first quarter of 2018.

Condos Will Be The New Norm in Family Housing

As prices of ground-related housing (detached, semi-detached and townhomes) has escalated to point where most buyers can no longer consider anything but a condo unit in a midrise or highrise building, buyers are looking at multi-residential buildings, not just as an entry into the market, but also as their permanent home.

According to Altus Group, the average price of a condo apartment in the GTA in November was $702,992, while new single-family homes grew to $1,223,610. Builders are responding by designing larger condo units suitable for family living and Toronto is responding by building more schools and community centres around areas of intensification. Growing up in condo will become the new normal for many families in the GTA.

Detached Home Prices Will Continue to Escalate

Supply cannot match demand resulting in a squeeze for anybody with the dream of a owning a detached home anywhere in the GTA. In November, the average price of a new single-detached home was over $1.2 million, 25.1 per cent above November 2016’s benchmark of $977,890, according to Altus Group, adding that single-family home sales represented only 17.3 per cent of the new homes sold in the GTA in November 2017.

But the lower sales do not represent a decline in interest, warns the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). “Single-family housing is still the first choice for many people, especially for those with families,” said BILD CEO and president Bryan Tuckey.

The reasons for the lack of land supply is complicated — Places to Grown policy, Greenbelt restrictions, lack of serviceable land to name a few — but the fact is there are fewer detached homes being built.

Buyers will be moving out of the GTA in order to afford a new house. Hotspots will include the Kitchener-Waterloo area, Burlington, Hamilton, the Niagara Region and Bowmanville.

New Appeals Process Will Continue to Slow Development

In December, the province passed legislation to eliminate the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and replace it with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). Over the years, the OMB suffered from a reputation that was less than stellar, with many believing that the board sided with the developers in most appeals, which is, in fact, not the case. And, of course, an OMB appeal caused a lengthy delay, costing the builder/developer money, which is passed on to the homebuyer.

The government says that LPATs, on the other hand, will be an independent tribunal with the hopes of making the land-use planning appeal process faster, fairer and more affordable, and allowing community members have a say in how their neighbours are shaped. That’s a good thing, really, as community involvement should always be welcomed by developers.

However, I don’t believe that the LPATs will take any less time to resolve an appeal than the OMB. These things take time, and with more people involved, and more depositions to hear, LPATs could actually take longer. And when the tribunal is no longer made up of independent members who decide on a development using fact-based planning principles, then decisions are bound to be based on the dreaded NIMBY code rather than on whether the proposal has merit in and of itself.

Just remember, the Distillery District would not have come into existence if it were up to the City of Toronto — the OMB gave it the green light. And that’s just one example of a good planning decision made by the OMB.

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

New Housing

The Conference Board of Canada expects an overall modest increase for single-family homes in 2018 and predicts the economy to grow by only 2 per cent in 2018, which will inhibit Canadians’ ability to buy new homes. The building industry has responded by making the shift toward multi-residential buildings, with two out of three new homes built today multi-family. However, Toronto’s real gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow 2.5 per cent in 2018, showing few signs of problems on the horizon for the region. The real estate sector will continue to benefit from this robust economic performance. People still crave the live-work-play lifestyle in the core and companies, eager to be close to talent, are moving into new office spaces nearby to fill the new tech and research jobs they’re creating. Urban intensification will continue, especially in Toronto, where the GTA will see significant densification efforts.

PWC reports that the condominium market will perform steadily in the near term, with demand steady in most markets. Downtown cores remain most attractive to young professionals, retiring boomers and young families. The size of condo units has been slowly increasing, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) reports, in answer to the demand of family-sized units.

Resale Housing

According to research by the Bank of Canada and reported by the Canadian Real Estate Association, which oversees the resale housing market in Canada, tightened mortgage rules will reduce sales activity across Canada in the first half of 2018, particularly in and around Toronto and Vancouver. Some homebuyers will stay out of the market as they save for a larger down payment. Taking these factors into account has led CREA to revise its sales forecast for 2018. CREA also anticipates that tighter mortgage regulations will lead some buyers to opt for a smaller, lower priced home.

Re/Max predicts national home prices will increase by 2.5 per cent in 2018, with the GTA facing a flat year except in downtown Toronto and some suburban areas west of Toronto, including Oakville and Brampton.

Royal LePage predicts a 4.9 per cent price increase nationally and a price increase of 6.8 per cent in the GTA.



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Record October 2017 for new condo sales

Record October 2017 for new condo sales

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Record October 2017 for new condo sales

Average price for available new detached homes rises to $1,548,888

New construction home sales soared in the GTA in the month of October, primarily driven by sales of multi-family homes, condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced November 24.

There were 5,377 new homes sold in October, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. About 91 per cent of them (4,884 units) were multi-family homes and only 9 per cent (493) were lowrise single-family homes such as detached and semi-detached houses and townhomes. Condo sales for October were 81 per cent above the 10-year average of 2,697, and the highest October yet recorded, while lowrise sales were 64 per cent below the 10-year average of 1,388.

As of the end of October, 39,476 new homes have been sold in the GTA in 2017, 82 per cent of them condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes.

“October data shows that the new homebuyer is left with very little choice when it comes to purchasing a new home,” said BILD president and CEO Bryan Tuckey.

“Provincial intensification policy has our members building more high and midrise dwellings making housing choices a challenge. The cost of a single-family home is out of reach for many consumers pushing them to buy a condo over a house. As a result we are seeing record-breaking condo sales and higher prices this year for new lowrise homes.”

While supply of new housing increased again in October and reached 12,500 units, it 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. At the end of October, there were 9,308 multi-family homes and 3,192 single-family homes available in the GTA.

“Demand for newly-built condominium apartments is being fueled by three key buyer groups – small investors who have become the de facto providers of new rental housing supply in the GTA; end user buyers who might prefer a single-family home but are seeking out more affordable options; and the more traditional end users who value the lifestyle and amenities of well-located projects,” said Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president of research consulting services.

Prices of available new homes in October increased slightly for both single-family lowrise homes and multi-family homes. The average for available new single-family homes was $1,217,428 up from $1,204,829 in September, and 29.8 per cent above last October’s average price of $937,689. The average price for available new detached homes was $1,548,888 and the average for available new townhomes was $995,571.

Meanwhile the average price of available new condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes was $677,456 in October, up from September’s $661,188. The average price per square foot was $791 and the average unit size was 857 square feet.

October 2017

Highrise

Lowrise

Total

Region

2017

2016

2015

2017

2016

2015

2017

2016

2015

Durham

15

97

26

209

329

325

224

426

351

Halton

158

375

199

75

514

246

233

889

445

Peel

89

203

174

62

178

486

151

381

660

Toronto

3,994

1,509

2,307

2

22

66

3,996

1,531

2,373

York

628

687

573

145

625

695

773

1,312

1,268

GTA

4,884

2,871

3,279

493

1,668

1,818

5,377

4,537

5,097

Source: Altus Group



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Demand for new homes continues to outpace supply

Demand for new homes continues to outpace supply

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Demand for new homes continues to outpace supply

In April, demand for new homes in the GTA continued to outpace supply and prices for all types of available new homes were up significantly, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced May 24, 2017.

There were 4,680 new homes sold in the GTA last month, an increase of 7 per cent from a year ago according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. Year-to-date sales of new homes in the GTA have been exceptionally strong. In the first four months of this year, 17,977 new homes were sold, 24 per cent more than during the same period in 2016 and 48 per cent above the 10-year average.

Meanwhile, the supply of new homes, the number of homes available to buyers in builders’ inventories at the end of the month, continued its unabated decline. At the end of April, there were only 9,387 new homes available to buyers across the entire GTA. This is the first time that overall inventory has dropped below 10,000 units since BILD and Altus Group began tracking such data more than a decade ago. A year ago, there were 21,056 new homes available for purchase in builders’ inventories.

“Builders are not able to keep up with the demand for new housing,” said BILD president and CEO Bryan Tuckey. “The product that builders are able to bring to the market is quickly purchased and prices for all types of new homes keep increasing as a result.”

In April, the average price of available new lowrise single-family homes, which includes detached, semi-detached and townhomes, was $1,212,297. That is 40 per cent more than the average price of such homes in April 2016.

Last month, the average asking price for available new detached homes in the GTA reached $1,810,232, while the average for available semi-detached was $856,036 and for townhomes was $946,496.

Prices of available new multi-family homes, condo apartments in highrise and midrise buildings and stacked townhomes, were up nearly 24 per cent from a year ago. The average price of available units hit $570,226 in April, with the average price per square foot at $685, and the average unit size 832 square feet.

Prices of available condo apartments were up due to both an increase in average unit size and a substantial increase in average price per square foot. Average price per square foot was up 17.5 percent from a year ago.

“The declining number of new homes available to purchase is not a question of less product being brought to market,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president of Research Consulting Services. “There were more than 11,000 units in projects opened in the first four months of this year – that’s about one-third higher than the average for the previous two years.”

Approximately 70 per cent of the new homes that were purchased in the GTA in April (3,265 units) were multi-family condo apartments in highrise, midrise or stacked townhomes, while 30 per cent (1,415) were new single-family lowrise homes including detached, semi-detached and townhomes.

Single-family lowrise sales were down 39 per cent from a year ago while sales of multi-family condo apartments were up 61 per cent from April 2016.

April New Home Sales by Municipality:

April 2017

Highrise

Lowrise

Total

Region

2017

2016

2015

2017

2016

2015

2017

2016

2015

Durham

19

33

16

362

356

441

381

389

457

Halton

129

87

123

84

342

476

213

429

599

Peel

872

170

106

474

908

822

1,346

1,078

928

Toronto

1,621

1,391

1,262

52

119

88

1,673

1,510

1,350

York

624

351

294

443

611

868

1,067

962

1,162

GTA

3,265

2,032

1,801

1,415

2,336

2,695

4,680

4,368

4,496

Source: Altus Group

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Record month for condo sales as lowrise inventory drops to unprecedented level

Record month for condo sales as lowrise inventory drops to unprecedented level

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Record month for condo sales as lowrise inventory drops to unprecedented level

February 2017 was a record breaking month for new condo apartment sales in the GTA, while the number of new lowrise homes available to buy reached unprecedented levels of scarcity, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) announced today.

Across the entire GTA, there were only 1,001 new lowrise homes available in builder inventories at the end of February, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. A decade ago, there were 17,304 of these homes in builder inventories, which include single-detached and semi-detached houses and townhomes.

“February data demonstrates quite clearly that our housing supply crisis in the GTA is getting worse,” said BILD president and CEO Bryan Tuckey. “Our members are building to current provincial intensification policy and we are building less lowrise single-family housing and more high and midrise housing, but consumer demand for lowrise homes has not dropped.

“Today in the GTA we have a scarcity of single-family ground-related housing that is not just unprecedented, it is almost inconceivable,” said Tuckey. “As a result we are seeing record breaking condo sales and continued price growth.”

At the end of February, there were only 324 new detached homes available for purchase in builder inventories. In February 2007, there were12,064 such homes available.

February saw available new detached homes reach a new record average price of $1,469,449, while the average price for all single-family ground-related product, which also includes semi-detached and townhomes, climbed to a new high of $1,081,013.

According to Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice president of research consulting services, the low inventory of available single-family product is a key factor driving price increases and it is limiting choices for consumers.

“If I were shopping for a single-family home 10 years ago, I would have been able to choose from among 500 different sites and nearly 18,000 units,” she said. “Today, there are less than 100 projects with any available units to purchase, totalling only about 1,000 units. And I would have to act very quickly to get one of those.”

In the GTA in February, there were more than twice as many new condo apartments sold than lowrise units. Altus Group recorded, 3,542 sales of condo apartments in stacked townhouses and midrise and highrise buildings, and 1,541 sales of new detached and semi-detached houses and lowrise townhomes.

Condo apartment sales in February were up 79 per cent over the same period last year and more than double the 10-year average. The month’s condo apartment sales were driven by continued strong sales in Toronto (1,661 units) and a significant increase in 905 sales, which included 105 unit sales in Durham, 107 in Halton, 370 in Peel and 1,299 in York.

Average prices for available new condo apartments in the GTA also set records in February. The average price of new condominium apartments in stacked townhouses and midrise and highrise buildings was $523,086, up from $507,511 in January. The average price per square foot reached an unprecedented $652 and the average unit size dropped to 802 square feet.

Inventory level for condo apartments continued to drop in February and reached a new low of 10,342 units.

“While the February results point to a trend decades in the making, the severity of the monthly figures, is jarring,” said Tuckey. “As the current data demonstrates, legislative guidelines and planning policies have real impacts on real people. With significant declines in builder inventory and record prices (for both lowrise and highrise homes), the GTA housing market is in crisis and it is time for governments to work with us to address the problems.”


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