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GTA new home sales

GTA new home sales in July remain strong

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GTA new home sales in July remain strong

GTA new home sales

It was a busy month by July standards, as sales for both condos and single-family homes were up year-over-year, according to the latest statistics from the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

There were 566 new single-family homes, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses, sold in July, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. Although sales increased 136 per cent from last July, they were 29 per cent below the 10-year average.

Sales of new condominium apartments in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, with 2,297 units sold, were up 22 per cent from July 2018 and 42 per cent above the 10-year average.

Brisk openings

“Typically, buyers take a bit of a vacation from the new condo apartment market in July” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “This year was no different, although the decline in sales was less pronounced than usual, resulting in the second strongest July on record. While few new projects launched in July, sales at projects opened in June were brisk.”

The benchmark price of new condominium apartments increased from last month, to $838,824, up 8.3 per cent over the last 12 months. The benchmark price of new single-family homes decreased slightly from last month, to $1.09 million, down 4.5 per cent over the last 12 months, continuing its moderating trend in 2019.

ALSO READ: Detached home sales and prices roar back to life in first half of 2019 – ReMax

Strong July sales, paired with traditional fewer summer openings, saw inventory decrease in July to 12,873 condominium units and 4,409 single-family homes. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction and in completed buildings.

Total new home sales in the first seven months of 2019, at 20,268 units sold, are up 45 per cent from the same period in 2018 and nine per cent below the 10-year average.

Price gap narrows

“The price gap between single-family homes and condos continues to shrink, leaving new-home buyers with a lack of choice,” says David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. “We must provide more ‘missing middle’ type development that can support transit in established neighbourhoods. More ‘gentle density’ housing in the form of midrise buildings, condos with street level retail, and stacked townhouses is needed to give consumers more choice.”

 

New home sales by municipality, July 2019

Municipality Condominium units Single-family homes Total
Region 2019 2018 2017 2019 2018 2017 2019 2018 2017
Durham 29 6 27 118 44 60 147 50 87
Halton 59 46 18 82 25 18 141 71 36
Peel 415 150 148 142 87 0 557 237 148
Toronto 1,522 1,557 1,118 46 8 6 1,568 1,565 1,124
York 272 120 461 178 76 34 450 196 495
GTA 2,297 1,879 1,772 566 240 118 2,863 2,119 1,890

Source: Altus Group

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There’s no time like the present, as lowrise prices are moderating

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There’s no time like the present, as lowrise prices are moderating

Lowrise prices are moderating, and homebuilders are offering purchase incentives

The prospect of owning a lowrise home in the GTA has traditionally been a cost prohibitive one for most buyers in the market. But the once yawning price gap between lowrise homes and condominiums has started to come a bit more into balance as of late. This means it could be a good time for some to consider the purchase of a lowrise home; if not a detached house, then perhaps the relatively more affordable option of a townhouse.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is forecasting that the GTA’s lowrise housing market is headed for a slight downturn this year, largely owing to a lack of land for the development of single-family and townhouses. That said, suburban regions such as Peel, Durham and York will account for higher concentrations of the GTA’s single-family detached sales and listings moving forward, and CMHC says that should slow price appreciation in the lowrise segment.

Condos continue to be the more affordable alternative to new single-family homes. But the difference in pricing between new single-family homes and new condos has narrowed significantly over the past two years, according to a new report from Altus Group.

The benchmark price of a singlefamily home in the GTA finished 2018 at $1.14 million, about 13 per cent below the peak it reached in July 2017, Altus Group notes. Meanwhile, the benchmark asking price for a new Toronto condo hit $796,815 at the end of 2018, an increase of 11 per cent from the previous year and a new all-time high for condos.

There is still a limited selection of affordable lowrise options out there for most buyers in the market, with only one in five new single-family homes available to purchase at the end of 2018 priced below $750,000. But Altus Group notes that single-family inventory levels rose slowly and steadily throughout 2018 and rose above the 5,000-unit mark by late 2018, the first time this has been the case for the GTA since way back in June 2015.

What’s more, in a bid to compensate for the dip in demand that followed the federal government’s introduction of new more stringent mortgage rules last year, lowrise homebuilders have been offering a range of purchase incentives, including sharpen prices, décor dollar credits, and designer upgrades.

Lowrise homes are still priced well above the average condo and many still won’t be able to afford to purchase that category of housing. However, townhouses, which offer a more reasonable price point than detached homes, and more space than condos to accommodate growing families, could represent the best of both worlds. Townhouses generally cost less to purchase than detached houses, and they typically tend to appreciate in value faster than condos, at least in the early years.

Whether it’s a single-family home or a townhouse, if you wanted to get into the GTA lowrise home market, it would appear that there’s no time like the present.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years. In2ition.ca

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GTA new home market shows encouraging signs in March

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GTA new home market shows encouraging signs in March

CL June 19 News BILD

The GTA new home market continued to show some encouraging signs in March, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

Total new home sales, with 2,314 new homes sold, were up 20 per cent from last year, though still 36 per cent below the 10-year average, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. There were 886 new single-family homes sold in March, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses, up from last March’s low of 295, but still 38 per cent below the 10-year average. This is the fifth month in a row that new single-family home sales have increased year-over-year.Sales of new condominium units in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, with 1,428 units sold, were down 13 per cent from March 2018 and 34 per cent below the 10-year average.

Broader availability

“The desire to own a new single-family home never went away, but many would-be buyers have been taking a wait-and-see approach in the past two years,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “While the affordability of single-family homes in general remains a challenge, the broader range of product at more favourable price points that is starting to emerge has attracted some of these buyers into the market.”

The benchmark prices of both single-family homes and condominium apartments moderated slightly compared to the previous month. The benchmark price of new single-family homes was $1.12 million, down 7.6 per cent over the last 12 months, while the benchmark price of new condominium units was $780,839, up 5.1 per cent over the last 12 months.

Affordability still an issue

“Despite the recent slight moderation in new home prices, affordability is an issue for many people in the GTA, as we have learned from our Building Answers campaign, which encourages residents to ask questions about development,” says David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. “Affordability will continue to be a challenge until structural remedies are introduced to fix the GTA’s housing supply shortage. It is clear that we all – industry, government and public – need to look for ways to build more housing faster and to mitigate unnecessary delays and costs on new housing.”

Remaining inventory in March included 11,744 condominium units and 5,054 single-family homes. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction and in completed buildings.

 

March new home sales by municipality

Condominium units Single-family homes Total
Region 2019 2018 2017 2019 2018 2017 2019 2018 2017
Durham 35 14 188 173 66 209 208 80 397
Halton 70 64 110 107 59 296 177 123 406
Peel 84 99 197 307 126 366 391 225 563
Toronto 953 1,081 3,628 88 5 93 1,041 1,086 3,721
York 286 382 442 211 39 372 497 421 814
GTA 1,428 1,640 4,565 886 295 1,336 2,314 1,935 5,901

Source: Altus Group

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GTA new home sales

GTA new home sales begin 2019 on a positive note

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GTA new home sales begin 2019 on a positive note

GTA new home sales

Sales of new homes in the GTA in January showed a moderate increase from last year, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) reports.

A total of 1,362 new homes were sold in January 2019, up 14 per cent from those sold in January of last year, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence.

Encouraging start

“I wouldn’t necessarily call this a strong start to the year,” David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO, told HOMES Publishing. “Yes, January is historically a slow month for new home sales, and we are encouraged by the modest improvement from January 2019 over 2018. However, low new home sales numbers continue to indicate that more needs to be done to make homeownership easier for new homebuyers.”

January’s sales of new single-family homes, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses),with 420 single-family homes sold, were still low from a historical perspective, down 53 per cent from the 10-year average. Sales of new condominiums, including units in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units,were only five per cent lower than the 10-year average, with 942 units sold.

Brighter outlook

“This year is starting off on a positive note,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “The improvement in new home sales over last January is consistent with our outlook for somewhat higher annual sales in the GTA this year, following the drop in 2018.”

Benchmark prices of new homes continued recent trends, with the benchmark price of single-family homes moderating slightly to $1.13 million in January from December 2018, down 8.1 per cent over the last 12 months. The condo benchmark price increased from last month to $803,638, up 12.5 per cent over the last 12 months.

With little new product coming into the housing market in January, remaining inventory decreased slightly from last month, to 15,530 units comprised of 10,364 condo units and 5,166 single-family homes. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction and in completed buildings.

Government needs to act

“It looks like the market is starting to return to typical levels after a particularly difficult year,” adds Wilkes. “With the spring budget coming up, we are calling on the federal government to take steps to make it easier for first-time home buyers to get into the housing market.”

Wilkes says the federal government should look at reintroducing the 30-year amortization periods for first-time buyers and adjusting the stress test, now that interest rates have risen.

“We must also continue to look at ways to increase supply,” he told HOMES. “We continue to call on municipal and provincial governments to remove barriers to bringing new housing and employment lands to market to meet the demand for much needed places to live and work across the GTA.”

 

January new home sales by municipality

Region Condominium units Single-family Total
2019 2018 2017 2019 2018 2017 2019 2018 2017
Durham 30 13 28 46 82 190 76 95 218
Halton 29 38 112 231 172 154 260 210 266
Peel 105 86 203 77 30 211 182 116 414
Toronto 724 605 982 5 8 36 729 613 1018
York 54 83 319 61 81 170 115 164 489
GTA 942 825 1,644 420 373 761 1,362 1,198 2,405

Source: Altus Group

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New home sales

2018 GTA new home sales drop to lowest mark in nearly 20 years

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2018 GTA new home sales drop to lowest mark in nearly 20 years

New home sales

Last year saw the lowest total sales in almost 20 years in the GTA new home market, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) reports.

Overall in 2018, there were 25,161 new homes sold in the GTA, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence, making 2018 the year with the lowest number of new home sales in the GTA since Altus Group started tracking new home data in 2000.

New record low

There were 21,330 condominium units sold in 2018, including those in low-, mid and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units – down 38 per cent from 2017 but only four per cent less than the 10-year average. Setting a record low since Altus began tracking new home data in 2000, there were only 3,831 single-family homes sold in 2018, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses). This is down 50 per cent from 2017 and down 74 per cent from the 10-year average.

“A number of factors combined to produce the drop in GTA new home sales in 2018,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “More stringent mortgage stress testing, rising interest rates and lack of single-family product affordable to a broader range of buyers all played a role. As well, the record new condo apartment sales in 2017 brought forward some demand that would otherwise have occurred in 2018.”

In December, the benchmark price for new condos was $796,815, up 11.2 per cent over the last 12 months. The benchmark price for single-family homes was $1.14 million, down 6.7 per cent over the last 12 months.

Out of balance

“From our point of view, the market is out of balance,” says David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. “We must continue to work with all levels of government to ensure that policies don’t artificially price consumers out of the market.

“We commend the provincial government for taking action toward increasing housing supply in Ontario,” Wilkes adds. “We join other industry groups in calling on the federal government to revisit the stress test and allow a longer amortization period for first-time buyers. And we look forward to working with our municipal partners on removing barriers to development such as excessive red tape and outdated bylaws.”

At the end of December, there were 15,768 new homes available for purchase, comprised of 10,687 condominium units and 5,081 single-family homes. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction, and in completed buildings.

 

December New Home Sales by Municipality

December 2018 Condominium apartments Single-family Total
Region 2018 2017 2016 2018 2017 2016 2018 2017 2016
Durham 40 17 50 44 15 75 84 32 125
Halton 48 163 59 21 47 93 69 210 152
Peel 108 89 130 32 11 152 140 100 282
Toronto 479 404 1,684 9 8 31 488 412 1,715
York 129 195 345 30 62 274 159 257 619
GTA 804 868 2,268 136 143 625 940 1,011 2,893

Source: Altus Group

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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.

altusgroup.com


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New home market

GTA new home market back to typical sales and openings levels in November

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GTA new home market back to typical sales and openings levels in November

New home market

The GTA new home market saw more typical activity levels in November, both in new home sales and new project openings, after a relatively strong October, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) reports.

There were 2,823 new homes sold in November, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new-home market intelligence. Condominium apartments in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units accounted for 2,454 new home sales in November, down 24 per cent from November 2017, but only sixper cent less than the 10-year average. Single-family home sales, with 369 detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses) sold, were up eight per cent from last November but down 71 per cent from the 10-year average.

Remaining inventory increased month over month, to 16,797 units, comprised of 11,254 condo apartment units and 5,543 single-family units. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction, and in completed buildings.

Strong finish

“The condominium apartment market in the GTA is finishing off the year on a stronger note than it started,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “Both builders and buyers have re-engaged in stronger numbers in recent months, signalling that the downturn that followed record activity last year may be coming to an end.”

The benchmark price for both condo apartments and single-family homes increased slightly in November compared to the previous month. The benchmark price for condo apartments was $786,602, which was up 11.9 per cent over the last 12 months. The benchmark price for single-family homes was $1,150,823, down 5.9 per cent over the last 12 months.

Although the housing market continued to show signs of recovery in November, it will continue to operate below capacity until fundamental issues that are restricting supply and demand are addressed through government policy, according to David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO.

No more talk

“The time for talk is done and our region needs action now to ensure we build the more than 50,000 new homes needed annually to support the GTA’s growing population,” says Wilkes. “Our industry is encouraged by the provincial government’s commitment to unlocking supply. We will continue to call on municipal governments to expedite approvals of new developments, and on the federal government to undo the negative effects of the outdated stress test on consumers’ ability to purchase homes.”

 

November new home sales by municipality

November 2018 Condominium Apartments Single-Family Total
Region 2018 2017 2016 2018 2017 2016 2018 2017 2016
Durham 404 16 57 54 75 171 458 91 228
Halton 101 204 114 107 88 415 208 292 529
Peel 736 181 231 52 61 132 788 242 363
Toronto 1,124 2,425 2,678 17 21 110 1,141 2,446 2,788
York 89 387 317 139 97 837 228 484 1,154
GTA 2,454 3,213 3,397 369 342 1,665 2,823 3,555 5,062

 Source: Altus Group

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Affordability Is A Challenge

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Affordability Is A Challenge

Housing supply is not rising in response to increased demand

Every fall, BILD invites experts on economics and housing to join us for breakfast and speak to our members about what the GTA housing market will look like in the coming year. This fall was no exception and I was heartened by much of what I heard about current and future trends from Patricia Arsenault of Altus Group and Dana Senagama of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). I also saw we have much left to do around housing supply and affordability in our region.

There’s no doubt we have a lot to look forward to in the GTA. Economic conditions are expected to be solid in the short term, with the employment growth rate projected to be 1.8 per cent in 2019, according to Arsenault, who is Altus Group’s executive vice president, data solutions.

More GTA households than last year are planning renovations of over $5,000 in the next year, and the percentage of GTA households that currently rent but plan to buy a home in the next year has rebounded after softening last summer, according to Altus Group’s survey.

But these survey results only indicate what homeowners and potential new homebuyers intend to do, not what they are ultimately able to do, and Arsenault noted that households may take longer to save for that first home in the face of new mortgage hurdles and housing affordability challenges. The prices of condo apartments, which used to offer potential homebuyers a more affordable choice than single-family homes, have been rising, reducing the advantage of this option. In September, the benchmark price of new condo apartments was $789,643 and the benchmark price of new single-family homes at $1,119,533.

Despite rapid price gains in both ownership and rental markets, the supply response has been weak or inelastic, said Senagama, who is CMHC’s manager of market analysis. That means our housing supply is not rising in response to increased demand for housing and the corresponding increase in the prices of homes, as the law of supply and demand would lead us to expect. In fact, Senagama showed that Toronto is one of the markets in Canada that are not at the risk of overbuilding.

I was not surprised to hear this. BILD has consistently delivered the same message. We have said that we are not building enough housing to accommodate the 115,000 new residents who are arriving in our region every year. We should be building 50,000 homes every year, and last year we only built 38,000. A big reason for this supply shortfall is the lengthy development process that housing projects face in the GTA, slowed down by outdated regulation and red tape.

We should be updating zoning bylaws and official plans and streamlining the list of conditions for municipal approvals, so that we can build the housing our growing region needs. Only then will potential homebuyers be able to afford to make their dream of owning a home a reality.

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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Don’t Doubt The Market

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Don’t Doubt The Market

There is no shortage of demand at the launches of new projects

The GTA housing market is as robust as ever and things have been humming along quite nicely for many years now.

And yet there will always be those who believe we are doomed, that the good times cannot continue for the GTA’s hot housing market — that it’s no doubt headed for an inevitable crash.

Well, that’s just not the sentiment we’re seeing at In2ition Realty as we’ve launched a series of successful projects across the region in recent weeks.

There was certainly no shortage of demand at the launch this summer of the first tower at Universal City, a Chestnut Hill Developments master-planned community in Pickering. The project enjoys lake views and is located just minutes from the GO Transit station. It sold out in record time and a second tower of 324 units just launched last month. The interest for tower two was equally as strong.

In Port Credit, on the other side of the GTA, it was the same story with the recent launch of Tanu Condos, a 204-unit tower and townhouse project by Edenshaw Developments. We had a lineup on the first day of launch!

Truth be told, Toronto condo builders can’t launch developments quickly enough to satisfy the insatiable demand.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the GTA housing market in 2018, mind you. The introduction of a new stress test on mortgage applicants certainly had an impact on home sales, sidelining some buyers.

And the GTA housing market faces considerable ongoing challenges, including trade labour shortages, development approval process and timing, project cost escalation, ability to secure financing, profit margins, land availability and cost … there are tons of hurdles for the building industry to contend with.

Although sales figures are down 40 per cent from last year, a portion is from lack of supply. In 2017 we saw 128 launches in highrise condos versus 56 in 2018.

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) reported a 6 per cent uptick in regional home sales in October 2018, compared to the same month a year earlier. And the average sale price of a detached home in the GTA last month was up 3.5 per cent on a year-overyear basis, to $807,340. The average sale price for a condo in Toronto was $603,153, compared to $461,013 in the 905.

Renovation spending is also at an all-time high: $12.3 billion was spent on home alterations and improvements in Ontario in the first half of 2018, according to Altus Group.

Homebuying intentions are up, as well, despite affordability and qualifying challenges. An Altus Group survey of current homeowners and current renters showed that most GTA households are saying yes, they plan to buy a home in the next year or so.

The evidence doesn’t lie. Households and investors alike see the GTA housing market as a quality long-term investment. And why shouldn’t they? A thriving and diverse regional economy and a steady stream of 100,000-plus new arrivals in the GTA each year — more migration than any other city in Canada — will keep this market strong for years to come.

Debbie Cosic, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for over 25 years.

In2ition.ca

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THE INDUSTRY INSIDER: Affordability is a challenge

Affordability is a challenge: The prices of condos have been rising

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Affordability is a challenge: The prices of condos have been rising

The prices of condos, which used to offer homebuyers a more affordable choice, have been rising, reducing the advantage of this option.

Every fall, BILD invites experts on economics and housing to join us for breakfast and speak to our members about what the GTA housing market will look like in the coming year. This fall was no exception and I was heartened by much of what I heard about current and future trends from Patricia Arsenault of Altus Group and Dana Senagama of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). I also saw we have much left to do around housing supply and affordability in our region.

There’s no doubt we have a lot to look forward to in the GTA. Economic conditions are expected to be solid in the short term, with the employment growth rate projected to be 1.8 per cent in 2019, according to Arsenault, who is Altus Group’s executive vice president, data solutions. More GTA households than last year are planning renovations of over $5,000 in the next year, and the percentage of GTA households that currently rent but plan to buy a home in the next year has rebounded after softening last summer, according to Altus Group’s survey.

But these survey results only indicate what homeowners and potential new homebuyers intend to do, not what they are ultimately able to do, and Arsenault noted that households may take longer to save for that first home in the face of new mortgage hurdles and housing affordability challenges. The prices of condo apartments, which used to offer potential homebuyers a more affordable choice than single-family homes, have been rising, reducing the advantage of this option. In September, the benchmark price of new condo apartments was $789,643 and the benchmark price of new single-family homes at $1,119,533.

Despite rapid price gains in both ownership and rental markets, the supply response has been weak or inelastic, said Senagama, who is CMHC’s manager of market analysis. That means our housing supply is not rising in response to increased demand for housing and the corresponding increase in the prices of homes, as the law of supply and demand would lead us to expect. In fact, Senagama showed that Toronto is one of the markets in Canada that are not at the risk of overbuilding.

I was not surprised to hear this. BILD has consistently delivered the same message. We have said that we are not building enough housing to accommodate the 115,000 new residents who are arriving in our region every year. We should be building 50,000 homes every year, and last year we only built 38,000. A big reason for this supply shortfall is the lengthy development process that housing projects face in the GTA, slowed down by outdated regulation and red tape.

We should be updating zoning bylaws and official plans and streamlining the list of conditions for municipal approvals, so that we can build the housing our growing region needs. Only then will potential homebuyers be able to afford to make their dream of owning a home a reality.

David Wilkes is president and CEO of BILD.

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