Tag Archives: BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association)

Savvy savings: Energy-efficient tips for your home that will ultimately save you money

Savvy savings: Energy-efficient tips for your home that will ultimately save you money

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Savvy savings: Energy-efficient tips for your home that will ultimately save you money

Your home may look the same as your neighbours’ home, but it may be costing you more money to maintain it. The assumption that all homes are created equal is not true. Within the GTA, there are homes that were built in the 1800s and have since been renovated 20 times or more. Let me help explain where you might be wasting money every month and provide you with some tips to help improve the energy efficiency of your home on your next home renovation.

Energy efficiency in your home is a combination of many different parts (electricity, heating, cooling, air leakage and insulation). Making your home more energy efficient in an integrated way can be very complicated and needs to consider all aspects of your home. You can start this process on your own with a few easy steps.

Electricity

Managing your electricity costs can be as simple as switching your light bulbs to LED. This alone can save you over 60 per cent of your lighting electricity use. You can go one step further and use newer light switches that have a dimming feature, occupancy sensor (it will turn the light off if you leave it on) and smart-home features. These light switches cost more upfront, but they will save you money in the long run – especially if you have a person in your home that always forgets to turn off the light when they leave the room!

Heating and cooling

Make sure that your thermostat is installed in a central location without anything blocking it. If you have a curtain or something else blocking the airflow around it, then it will not register the temperature in your home properly and lead to over-heating or over-cooling. Don’t forget to check the expiry date on your thermostat! Just like smoke detectors, there is a practical life expectancy for these devices. I suggest that after 10 years of use, you should consider replacing it.

As for the temperature setting, this is a personal preference. Some people like a warmer or cooler house, and control of that is completely up to you. But consider your temperature settings for when you are not at home, and adjust your temperature setting by 10 degrees Celsius. Your system won’t turn on when you don’t need it to, so this will save you money in operational costs and also increase the lifespan of your heating and cooling system. A Smart thermostat allows you to return your home to a comfortable temperature, firing the system 30 minutes before you arrive.

Your passive choices

After addressing the more proactive things, like your thermostat settings and lighting systems, you should look at the passive parts of your home that are costing you money. Let’s look at air leaks. If the seals around windows and doors are leaking, then you are losing valuable heated or cooled air all the time. This can be fixed simply by replacing the gaskets or applying caulking. You can also eliminate air leakage and create a much better building envelope by rebuilding old exterior walls – integrating a well-detailed air and vapour retarder and adding insulation to create a more comfortable living space.

Using a professional renovator to help guide you through the process of making your home more energy efficient will help save you money. Always remember to obtain a detailed contract and get building and electrical permits when they are required, this will protect you and ensure that the work is completed according to code.

David Wilkes is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA.

For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, Facebook, BILD’s official blog.


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Top Honours for BILD Renovation and Custom Home Awards

Top Honours for BILD Renovation and Custom Home Awards

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Top Honours for BILD Renovation and Custom Home Awards

by Dave Wilkes

On the opening day of the National Home Show, the GTA’s top renovators and custom-home builders were recognized by the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) at its annual Renovation and Custom Home Awards, which took place on March 8th at the AllStream Centre.

Created by BILD in 1999, the awards program recognizes renovation general contractors for professionalism, quality of work and industry leadership. Nominees are evaluated by a team of industry professionals. The Renovator of the Year award, which recognizes the renovator who sets the standard for the rest of the sector in leadership and commitment to customer service and contribution to the overall image of the renovation industry, is also decided based on survey results from clients.

This year, the Renovator of the Year award was presented to Golden Bee Homes.

“Golden Bee Homes’ clients speak highly of the excellence of the company’s work as well as their professionalism, customer service and courtesy,” says Justin Sherwood, BILD’s vice-president of communications and stakeholder relations and RenoMark program manager. “Owner Jack Torossian gives back generously to the industry as the Chair of BILD’s Renovator and Custom Builder Council and volunteers as a presenter for our renovation seminars for consumers.”

Best Bathroom Renovation was awarded to All Angles Renovation Ltd. for truly customizing their client’s space by using the space efficiently. There is plenty of natural light in the washroom with a window next to the tub and a skylight in the shower.

The Best Kitchen Renovation went to Binns Kitchen + Bath Design. The kitchen has a unique style application and incorporates an avant-garde range hood. The use of the space and the creativity tie all the elements together. Another unique aspect of this kitchen is a stove wall that includes upper cabinets unconnected to the ceiling.

Best Renovation (no addition) under $150,000 went to Alair Homes – Aurora/Newmarket for a major home transformation and upgrade on a modest budget. The kitchen was relocated to achieve a very functional cooking environment, while opening up the remaining spaces, significantly increasing natural light.

The Best Renovation (no addition) over $250,000 went to Bachly Construction for a stunning wine cellar. Extensive thought and creativity are evident in this design and the renovation, from the logistics of excavation to the creativity of using a drawbridge which provides access to portions of the wine wall.

The newly created Best Innovative Renovation award went to Kinswater Construction for creating a simple and timeless space, while incorporating the client’s ancestral heritage into the project. The renovator overcame structural and layout obstacles to create a functional layout that is truly original.

SevernWoods Construction was presented with the Best Custom Home award for creating a modern, but warm and inviting home. The materials chosen, like the use of local stone on the exterior and interior, help to achieve a good balance within the neighbourhood.

“This year’s winners exemplify the quality, innovation, creativity and integrity that homeowners can expect when working with professional RenoMark renovators and custom builders,” says Sherwood.

All award winners are members of the national RenoMark program, which connects homeowners with professional renovators who have agreed to abide by a renovation-specific Code of Conduct.

BILD would like to congratulate all the winners and finalists.

Contact information for all RenoMark renovators as well as a complete list of the winners can be found on their website.


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Ontario housing plan

Ontario releases plan to address housing affordability and supply issues

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Ontario releases plan to address housing affordability and supply issues

Ontario housing plan

The Ontario government has released its plan to address housing supply and affordability, and homebuilders couldn’t be happier.

Steve Clark, minister of municipal affairs and housing today revealed More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan, a full-spectrum suite of legislative changes to increase the supply of housing that is affordable and provide families with more meaningful choices on where to live, work and raise their families.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from families across Ontario that finding housing that is affordable takes too long and costs too much,” says Clark. “After years of neglect by the former government, there is now a housing crisis in Ontario and the dream of ownership is out of reach for too many. Our plan will make it easier to build the right type of homes in the right places, giving Ontarians and their families more flexibility when looking for a home they can afford.”

GTA homebuilders, through the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), applaud the action, calling it an important step to address the barriers to new homeownership and rental housing.

“The challenge is a basic one,” says Dave Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. “Previous government policies and procedures have created structural barriers to the efficient operation of the housing market which has resulted in a generational shortfall of housing. Today, the Ford government has signaled its intent to address this problem to ensure that the right type of housing is built at the right price across the Greater Toronto Area.”

Clark says the plan will require a province-wide effort that includes municipalities, non-profits and private industry and will also be a comprehensive all-of-government initiative that will include legislative amendments to 13 government Acts.

The new measures proposed in More Homes, More Choicewould streamline the overly complex development approvals process to remove unnecessary duplication and barriers, making costs and timelines more predictable. The plan would also streamline and simplify the process for creating new rental housing options.

As part of the action plan, our government is also launching A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe,to address the needs of the region’s growing population, diversity and local priorities.

“Whether you are a first-time homebuyer, a family looking for a larger apartment to rent or a senior hoping to downsize, our action plan puts people first,” says Clark. “Combined with our government’s investment in renewed community housing, our Housing Supply Action Plan is sending a clear message that no matter what your situation you can count on our government to always put people first.”

Highlights of the plan

Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT):Changes will be introduced to allow LPAT to make decisions based on the best planning outcome and remove existing restrictions around the introduction of evidence. The number of adjudicators will be increased and case management powers introduced to acknowledge the need to address the backlog/housing supply.

Development Charges: To increase predictability for the industry and consumers around development charges, changes will allow for rates to be locked in at the time of complete site plan or zoning application. There are also provisions that defer DCs for rental buildings until occupancy.

Parkland/S37/Development Charges: A “community benefits authority” is to be introduced that both acknowledges the cumulative effect that taxes, fees and charges have on housing affordability and allows for more certainty and predictability by eliminating “planning by negotiation.” This new benefit will roll together DCs and will have a cap based on property value by municipality.

Red Tape Reductions:To reduce red tape and help streamline approvals, among other actions:

  • Direction will be provided on how municipalities can use the Ontario Heritage Actwhile allowing for compatible changes and creating consistent appeals.
  • The role of Conservation Authorities is to be reviewed to make sure that they go back to their core mandate, which will reduce overlap in approvals and reduce costs by streamlining roles.
  • The Environmental Assessment Actwill be amended to exempt low-risk actions and remove duplications.

“It just takes too long to build new housing in the GTA,” says Wilkes. “This restricts supply and negatively impacts affordability. When you then layer on a disproportionate share of the cost for new infrastructure, parks, and municipal services to new homes, you now have the recipe for what we are currently experiencing.”

The complex regulatory environment, government fees, taxes and charges add as much as 25 per cent to the cost of an average new home in the region, BILD says.

The roposed LPAT changes will have a beneficial impact on supply, BILD says. Currently, there are as many as 1,000 cases, representing almost 100,000 housing units across Ontario waiting for consideration at the LPAT.

The overall focus on reducing red tape and speeding approvals through modifications to the Provincial Policy Statement, The Ontario Heritage Act, The Environmental Assessment Act and many others will enable the industry to unlock housing supply.

“We need more of all types of housing across the GTA – homes for purchase, for rent and social housing,” says Wilkes. “We look forward to working with all levels of government to address housing supply and affordability as the consultation on the proposed changes continues.”

RELATED READING

GTA new home market shows encouraging signs in March

Development in the GTA

GTA builders launch public awareness campaign

 

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All the right moves, Ontario’s update of development

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All the right moves, Ontario’s update of development

Ontario’s update of development and housing plans is the right move

In hindsight, the signs were there all along: A rapid escalation of land values, the slowing of new development across the Greater Toronto Area, and a rise in community resistance against new development in existing neighbourhoods. This is the legacy of the previous provincial government’s Growth Plan and housing policies in the GTA. Our current challenges around housing supply and affordability are the result.

The new government is looking to make much-needed changes, even as critics raise predictable objections. Never mind that these same critics never supported any development plan nor are likely do to so, and never mind the disheartening prospects confronting those looking for a new home or apartment in the GTA. Nor does it matter to these pundits that the region is growing annually by 115,000 people, all requiring housing, places to work, schools, and commuting infrastructure.

The fact is, despite the critics’ objections, the changes proposed by the government are quite measured and focus on two areas. The first is a housing supply action plan that outlines how we get more homes for rent and purchase built faster. The government is looking at proposals to remove barriers and speed up development, as it currently takes more than 11 years to complete an average lowrise development and 10 years to complete an average highrise development in the GTA.

The government is also looking for proposals on ways to encourage “missing middle housing” – the townhomes and low- and midrise apartments that provide gentle density in existing neighbourhoods and can serve as starter homes at a lower price point.

Finally, the government is looking for proposals to lower the cost of development by addressing the cost of land and the charges added to new developments. This, in turn, will positively impact the affordability of new homes.

The second area the government is focusing on is adjusting the Growth Plan, the policy that guides where and how development occurs across the GTA and the Greater Golden Horseshoe. One matter under consideration is adjusting density targets – the number of people and jobs required per hectare – a direct determinant of built form and housing mix. The current government has rightly pointed out that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work, and that treating development in communities such as Brantford, Hamilton and Waterloo in a manner similar to Toronto makes no sense. Other proposed changes include giving municipalities some flexibility to develop housing on lands that have previously been designated as employment areas and on small pieces of land that are currently outside their settlement area boundaries, and continuing to encourage density around major transit station areas. If adopted, these changes will give more flexibility to municipalities and will encourage the right types of homes to be built and the right density based on the infrastructure available.

These proposed changes are all about one thing: Providing homes for hardworking individuals and families across a growing region. Our current generational housing challenge has been 14 years in the making and through these actions the provincial government is making good on its promise of working to increase housing supply in our region while continuing to protect the environment.

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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Development in the GTA

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Development in the GTA

Recently I completed 16 months as the President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association of the Greater Toronto Area (BILD). With 1,500 member companies, BILD GTA is amongst the largest local home building associations in Canada, and with the level of residential and commercial construction occurring across the region, the time has flown by. A consistent occurrence during this period, however, has been the number of questions I get from members of the public about development and homebuilding in the region. Residential and commercial construction is highly visible, cranes dot the skyline from Mississauga to Pickering, and so it’s only natural that residents want to know what’s happening in their communities and why change is occurring. They have questions, such as “Is all this development necessary?” (Yes, we have a housing shortage in the GTA), “Who decides what gets built where?,” “Why in my neighbourhood?,” and perennially “Why is new development so dense?”

After all, that is a primary role of an industry association, to act as conduit between media, the public and the industry. Invariably, two things come out of these interactions. The first is that we get a better understanding and appreciation of the perspectives, concerns and questions of the nearly seven million residents of the region. We use this to inform our communications, columns, and interviews, as chances are the perspectives and questions are more broadly shared. In fact, we often reflect these perspectives in our interactions with municipal and provincial governments. The second is, in our responses we are able to provide answers and information. The development and construction process is complex, lengthy and highly regulated, and more often than not these inquiries are informed by perceptions and information people have gathered through the “grapevine.” Following our interactions, BILD GTA frequently receives a follow-up thanking us for the response, indicating we provided information that was not previously known. While the interaction may not change the concerns that gave rise to the inquiry in the first place, it always leads to a more informed discussion and debate.

The reality is that while the pace of development will ebb and flow year to year with economic cycles and other factors, the long-term trajectory will be for more residential and commercial development across the region. With the population of the GTA expected to grow 40 per cent by 2041 or approximately 115,000 new residents every year, providing places for all these new residents to live, work and play will require a concerted and prolonged development effort. This will require unprecedented levels of co-ordination and partnership between all levels of government, the industry and residents, and key to that is informed discussion and debate. The past 16 months have gone by in the blink of an eye, and I look forward to continuing to work with this dynamic industry for many years to come. Please keep asking us your questions and we will continue to answer them to the best of our ability. Together, we can have constructive dialogue that ultimately helps to inform and shape our region as it assumes its rightful place as a world class city.

DAVE WILKES is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). Bild.ca

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BILD billboard

GTA builders launch public awareness campaign

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GTA builders launch public awareness campaign

BILD billboard

Motorists along Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway and other commuters may have noticed something very different during their trips to and from work in April. The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) launched a six-week public awareness campaign, and a “billboard takeover” along this popular stretch of highway was among the first and most noticeable elements of the program.

Called Building Answers, the campaign is designed to answer key questions GTA residents have about housing and development and will include other outdoor advertising, print placements and social media messaging.

“With 115,000 new people calling the GTA their home every year and the population expected to grow by 40 per cent to 9.7 million by 2041, development and housing construction is highly visible throughout the region,” says David Wilkes, president and CEO of BILD. “It’s natural for residents to have questions and want to understand the changes they are seeing in and around their communities. As the industry that builds the places where people live, work and play, we are committed to facilitating an informed discussion.”

IPSOS conducted a public opinion poll and gathered the top 24 questions from resident-participants, and BILD enlisted a panel of industry professionals to answer them. The buildinganswers.ca website will engage members of the public and provide them with an opportunity to submit their own questions. BILD has committed to answer individual questions within two business days. The most common questions will be answered on the site.

 

SAMPLE QUESTIONS

Q: Why is there so much development in the GTA?

A: The GTA is a great place to live – as evidenced by ranking seventhon the 2018 Economist Intelligence Unit’s list of the world’s most livable cities. But the fact is, we already have a housing shortage and the region is continuing to grow quickly.

People want to move to the GTA. It’s one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in North America with 115,000 people choosing to move here every year. That kind of growth requires approximately 50,000 new homes per year. As it stands, we’ve been able to build approximately 40,000 homes per year since 2016. The gap between what is being built and what is needed is increasing each and every year.

And this growth is not going to slow down any time soon. In fact, it’s expected that our population will grow 40 per cent by 2041, to 9.7 million. That means there’s going to be ongoing demand for housing and employment lands above and beyond the shortfall we already have.

The development and new housing efforts – often represented by construction activity and cranes and graders – are evidence of how we’re working hard every day to help build a livable GTA.

Q: What makes up the cost of a new home or condominium?

A: The cost of a new home or condominium depends on three main drivers:

Price of land: Land values in the GTA for single-family homes have increased by more than 300 per cent since 2006.

Cost of building:This includes labour, materials and design.

Government fees and taxes:In the GTA, 22 per cent of the cost of a single-family home comprises government fees and taxes from all three levels of government. For condominiums, this jumps to 24 per cent.

The cost of a new home or condominium is also affected by factors such as location, size and type of building.

 

“BILD receives many inquiries on a regular basis from members of the public about housing and development in their communities,” adds Wilkes. “The Building Answers campaign will allow the industry to engage as many people as possible and answer as many questions as possible. When you allow people to be part of the discussion and share information, you allow them to be part of the solution.”

The advertising and communications campaign will also feature a live CP24 call-in segment and high impact print placements in major Toronto publications. Residents can also expect to see and hear messaging on TV, radio, print, digital and social media, transit shelters and billboards across the region. BILD worked with empathy marketing agency Republic to develop and execute the campaign.

“Now is the time for an open and factual discussion on development in the GTA given the generational challenge of housing supply and affordability,” says Wilkes. “This campaign will allow everyone to participate in the dialogue about what our region will look like.”

With 1,500 member companies, BILD is the voice of the homebuilding, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA. The industry provides $33 billion in investment value and employs 271,000 people in the region. BILD is affiliated with the Ontario Home Builders’ Association and Canadian Home Builders’ Associations.

GTA residents are encouraged to visit buildinganswers.ca to see responses to the top questions, as well as to ask the industry their own questions.

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Single-family homes web

New single-family home sales in the GTA jump in February

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New single-family home sales in the GTA jump in February

Single-family homes web

The GTA new home market in February saw the highest number of single-family homes sold since April 2017, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

There were 639 new single-family homes sold in February, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence. This was up 147 per cent from last February, though still 50 per cent below the 10-year average. Sales of new condominium apartments in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, with 772 units sold, were down 58 per cent from February 2018 and down 51 per cent from the 10-year average.

“Softer new condominium apartment sales in February can, at least in part, be attributed to the rapid increase in prices in the past two years, which has priced many would-be buyers out of the market,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “The good news is that, although still relatively low in historical terms, there is now more inventory available to purchase and this is curbing the upward pressure on prices.”

ALSO READ: Budget 2019 comes up short

Remaining inventory in February included 11,269 condominium units and 5,233 single-family lots. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction and in completed buildings.

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 eight per cent over the last 12 months, while the benchmark price of new condominium apartments was $792,709, up 8.6 per cent over the last 12 months.

“We are hopeful that the measures introduced last week in the federal budget will enable more first-time homebuyers to enter the market and purchase the type of home they want,” says BILD President and CEO David Wilkes. “However, these measures are only the first step, and BILD will continue to advocate for a review of the mortgage stress test so more first-time homebuyers can realize the dream of homeownership.”

Wilkes adds that the GTA is still grappling with challenges around supply. “BILD is continuing to call on the provincial government and municipal governments to take the steps necessary to facilitate additional housing supply to meet the growing need across the GTA.”

February New Home Sales by Municipality

Condominium units Single-family Total
Region 2019 2018 2017 2019 2018 2017 2019 2018 2017
Durham 22 4 113 54 50 302 76 54 415
Halton 39 46 96 269 113 457 308 159 553
Peel 120 104 384 189 34 201 309 138 585
Toronto 533 1,065 1,822 4 6 42 537 1,071 1,864
York 58 641 345 123 56 447 181 697 792
GTA 772 1,860 2,760 639 259 1,449 1,411 2,119 4,209

Source: Altus Group

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Budget 2019 comes up short

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

 

 

 

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GTA waterfront homes

Budget 2019 comes up short

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Budget 2019 comes up short

GTA waterfront homes

The federal government released the much-anticipated Budget 2019 this week, with homebuyers, builders and others awaiting measures to address housing issues.

And in short, it comes up, well… a little short.

First-time homebuyer help

Much of the housing focus in Budget 2019 was on addressing the needs of first-timers, namely with a new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive.

  • The Incentive would allow eligible first-time homebuyers who have the minimum down payment for an insured mortgage to apply to finance a portion of their home purchase through a shared equity mortgage with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC).
  • About 100,000 first-time buyers would benefit from the Incentive over the next three years.
  • Since no ongoing payments would be required with the Incentive, Canadian families would have lower monthly mortgage payments. For example, if a borrower purchases a new $400,000 home with a five-per-cent down payment and a 10-per-cent CMHC shared equity mortgage ($40,000), the borrower’s total mortgage size would be reduced from $380,000 to $340,000, reducing the borrower’s monthly mortgage costs by as much as $228 per month.
  • CMHC to offer qualified first-time homebuyers a 10-per-cent shared equity mortgage for a newly constructed home or a five-per-cent shared equity mortgage for an existing home. This larger shared equity mortgage for newly constructed homes could help encourage the home construction needed to address some of the housing supply shortages in Canada, particularly in the largest cities.
  • The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive would include eligibility criteria to ensure that the program helps those with legitimate needs, while ensuring that participants are able to afford the homes they purchase. The Incentive would be available to first-time buyers with household incomes of less than $120,000 per year.
  • Budget 2019 also proposes to increase the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000, providing first-time buyers with greater access to their Registered Retirement Savings Plan savings to buy a home.

Noticeably absent from the housing measures was any adjustment to the stress test, which a number of experts say is necessary.

Industry reaction

“The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) agrees with (Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s) comments that there aren’t enough homes for people to buy or apartments for people to rent,” says Dave Wilkes, president and CEO.

“BILD feels the policies presented in (the) budget are a step in the right direction to help first-time homebuyers. We will continue to advocate for a review of the stress test so that first-time homebuyers can realize the dream of homeownership. Supply challenges still exist and are at the centre of the current unbalanced market, and we call for action on these by the provincial and municipal government.”

Supply challenges in the Greater Golden Horseshoe are serious, and Budget 19 fails to address them.

“This was a re-election budget that didn’t move the dial for new-home buyers in the GTA,” Richard Lyall, president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) told HOMES Publishing. “While increasing RRSP borrowing for first-time homebuyers is helpful, creating The First-Time Homebuyer Incentive at a maximum of $500,000 doesn’t help many Torontonians or GTA residents.”

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) had been recommending a shared appreciation mortgage approach for some time, as a tool to help those who can’t get into homeownership but have the means to pay rent.

The modification to the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan will help get Canadians into their first home, but will also act as a burden because the loan has to be repaid within 15 years, including a minimum of 1/15th per year.

“This means that, in the years following their home purchase, a homeowner has the additional financial responsibility of repaying their RRSP,” says James Laird, co-founder of Ratehub Inc. and president of CanWise Financial.

Important details of the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive program have yet to be released. For example, says Laird, it remains unclear whether the government would take an equity position in homes, or whether the assistance would act as an interest-free loan.

“This is an important distinction because if the government is taking an equity stake in a home, the amount the homeowner would have to pay back would grow as the value of the home increases,” he says.

The very launch of the program is surprising, Laird says, given that the BC Government implemented a similar measure a couple years ago, with unsuccessful results, and it was terminated in 2018. First-time home buyers found it difficult to understand and unappealing to have the government co-own their home.

Let’s do the math

Under existing qualifying criteria, including the stress test, homebuyers can qualify for a house that is 4.5 to 4.7 times their household income.

Under the new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, however, the government has set a purchase limit of four times household income for the mortgage, plus the amount provided by the government, according to Ratehub.

By participating in this program, first-time homebuyers effectively reduce the amount they can qualify for by about 15 per cent, and their monthly mortgage payment naturally decreases in lockstep.

A household with $100,000 of income, putting a minimum down payment of five per cent, can currently qualify for a home valued at $479,888 with a $2,265.75 monthly mortgage payment.

Affordability calculations

The maximum purchase price for the same household, if they participate in the first-time homebuyer incentive, drops to $404,858.29 with a five-per-cent minimum down payment. The total mortgage amount would then be $400,000 (or four times their household income).

Mortgage payment calculations

If the household took a five-per-cent incentive from the government (for resales), their mortgage amount goes to $378,947.37, and monthly payment is now $1,810.90.

If the household took a 10-per-cent incentive, (for new homes) their mortgage amount goes to $357,894.73, and  monthly payment is now $1,710.29.

Stress test modifications

The CHBA is among the industry groups that is pushing for modifications to the existing mortgage stress test, which has served to lock out too many well-qualified Canadians due to the market and interest rate changes of the past year.

“The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, if coupled with immediate adjustments to the stress test, has the potential for getting the housing continuum functioning again,” says CHBA CEO Kevin Lee. “It is essential that these changes come quickly, though. Current restrictions on mortgage access mean that many millennials and new Canadians are seeing homeownership slipping away, and in many markets the economic impacts are substantial.”

Looking ahead to the 2019 federal election, CHBA will be encouraging all federal parties to address housing affordability in very meaningful ways in their respective platform documents.

Budget 2019 housing measures

Budget 2019

 

 

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Proposed changes to the Growth Plan could help address housing challenges

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Proposed changes to the Growth Plan could help address housing challenges

If you hope to own a home in the GTA one day, you received some good news recently. The Ontario government proposed changes to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the policy that manages growth in our region. The amendments, if approved, would mean more housing supply and choice and, ultimately, better housing affordability.

The Growth Plan was introduced by a previous provincial government in 2006 and was revised in 2017. Both versions brought in new requirements in the planning process. The objective was praiseworthy — to encourage the development of compact, mixed-use communities that would make efficient use of transit, infrastructure and public services.

Unfortunately, many municipalities struggled to meet the new planning requirements, especially density targets that did not recognize the diverse character of our region and did not take into account the availability of transit and infrastructure. For instance, the 2006 Growth Plan called for 50 residents and jobs per hectare in areas that are not yet built up but are designated for future development. This target was already a challenge for many smaller communities that did not have the transit and other infrastructure to support it, yet the 2017 Growth Plan increased it to 80 residents and jobs per hectare. That’s about double the current density of suburban areas like Scarborough and Etobicoke. How would municipalities in rural areas achieve it?

The proposed changes take into account the differences between municipalities and call for varying numbers of residents and jobs per hectare: not less than 60 for Hamilton, Peel, Waterloo and York; not less than 50 for Barrie, Brantford, Guelph, Orillia, Peterborough, Durham, Halton and Niagara; and not less than 40 for Kawartha Lakes, Brant, Dufferin, Haldimand, Northumberland, Peterborough, Simcoe and Wellington. These new density targets are a lot more realistic for municipalities to meet.

The proposed changes to the Growth Plan would also give municipalities some flexibility to develop housing on lands that have previously been designated as employment areas and on small pieces of land that are currently outside their settlement area boundaries.

When municipalities have more flexibility about where and how growth occurs, they can build more housing and the right mix of housing type for their community, while making efficient use of land and maximizing their existing infrastructure. Ultimately, a healthier supply of housing means better housing affordability. That’s great news if you and your family are looking to live, work and own a home in your chosen community, because you are more likely to find the type of home you want and can afford.

Until these proposed changes are implemented, we will continue to face a different reality. The GTA is forecast to grow to 9.7 million people by 2041, yet we are not building enough homes to accommodate this change. We are falling short by about 8,000 to 10,000 homes every year. This supply shortfall drives up home prices and rents, creating pressures that are particularly felt by young families and first-time homebuyers.

The proposed changes to the Growth Plan would help us address this generational challenge. The government is to be applauded for taking these concrete, positive steps in the right direction.

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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Should I renovate or rebuild?

Should you renovate or rebuild?

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Should you renovate or rebuild?

The beginning of spring offers a sense of renewal; I know it does for me. The warmer weather often has many of us thinking of spring cleaning, home improvement or a home renovation. If you are thinking of a renovation, you can choose to renovate your kitchen or bathroom, or be bold and add an addition to your home. Adding square footage not only enhances the enjoyment of your home, but can increase the value of your property.

When you embark on a large renovation project to add more space, you should ask yourself if you require an addition or a complete re-build. There are many things that need to be considered when making this decision, such as your budget, the state of your existing home and regulatory approval processes.

Reasons to do an addition to your existing home

  • If you are only looking to add a little more floor area, you may want to extend the rear of the house to help make your ground floor living area larger. A small and simple addition is a practical way of creating more space.
  • If you want to add a second storey to your bungalow, and the structure can handle the additional load, building a simple vertical addition can avoid costly work like a new foundation.
  • Heritage, conservation or site density regulatory restrictions may mean that it is impossible to tear down your home and build a new one, so therefore your only choice is to renovate the existing structure.

Reasons to demolish and build a new home

  • The structure isn’t strong enough to handle a second floor addition. A lot of older bungalows are built with very little structure on the ground floor. This would include exterior walls that don’t meet today’s building standards. In this case, you would have no choice but to undergo a costly and invasive structural upgrade, or build new.
  • The quality of your existing home may become too costly to repair. When a home has undergone a series of renovations, there may be a number of construction challenges to be dealt with before creating the new envelope. There is the possibility of illegal or non-conforming work that will need to be brought up to current building code requirements. Other considerations are a damp basement, the state of services (water, sanitary, and hydro) to the home, or general quality of existing finishes.
  • The layout of the house you want is dramatically different from the one you currently have. There is a tipping point where the amount of work to create new or different layouts overwhelms the savings of working with an existing one. Working with an existing structure generally means losing the opportunity for higher ceilings or a fresh start on floorplans. It can quickly become more favourable to build a new home.
  • A strong factor in the matrix of evaluators for decision making is location. Aside from the amount of work or time commitment, staying in the same place may feel right for you.

I encourage you to visit renomark.ca and educate yourself on the RenoMark Code of Conduct that gives homeowners peace of mind. RenoMark renovators must abide by the RenoMark Code of Conduct. It requires renovators to offer a minimum two-year warranty on all work, carry a minimum of $2 million in liability insurance and provide a detailed written contract.

David Wilkes is president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), the voice of the home building, land development and professional renovation industry in the GTA.

For the latest industry news and new home data, follow BILD on Twitter, Facebook, BILD’s official blog.


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