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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 builders launch public awareness campaign

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

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Buying a new home and have some questions? Ask now, and ask often

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Buying a new home and have some questions? Ask now, and ask often

BILDGTA_TSA web

“Got questions? We have answers.” If you’re a prospective new-home buyer in the GTA, you may have noticed an advertising campaign with these and other similar messages lately.

The “we” is GTA homebuilders, and through a Building Answers public awareness campaign launched by their representative body, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), they aim to provide the answers.

Indeed, this six-week program that began in early April should be just beginning of ongoing communications with homebuyers.

Comprising billboard, transit and media advertising and other communications, Building Answers strives to do just that – provide answers to many of the questions GTA homeowners and prospective homebuyers have.

It’s a long list. Here are some of them:

  • Why is there so much development in the GTA?

  • Do we really need all these condominiums and other developments?

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

  • How does transit benefit from new development?

  • How much do homebuilders make on an average project?

  • Why does the price of homes in the GTA keep rising?

And the big one, for those who have been saving to buy a home, only to watch on the sidelines as prices continue to rise:

  • Will I ever be able to afford a home in the GTA?

These are not fictitious, marketing-oriented questions. They are actual queries from would-be homebuyers who legitimately wonder when, and how, they’ll be able to buy a home here. And if they can’t, should they look, and consider moving, elsewhere?

There are countless other questions, of course, and you can view the detailed answers to all of them – and ask your own – at a dedicated website buildinganswers.ca.

If you’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars – or beyond a million – on a home, you have every right to ask all the questions you want. And if you don’t get an answer that satisfies you, ask again. Or move along to another builder.

With Building Answers, the companies that provide these new-home buying opportunities in the GTA have demonstrated they are open to the discussion.

Even beyond the scope of this program – raise your hand and ask all the questions you need to.

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GTA builders launch public awareness campaign

Development in the GTA

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

 

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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 driving along Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway – east- and westbound – may notice something very different during their commute on April 2. The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) is launching a six-week public awareness campaign, and a “billboard takeover” along this popular stretch of highway is 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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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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Losani HHHBA Hall of Fame

Losani Homes principals inducted into HHHBA Hall of Fame

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Losani Homes principals inducted into HHHBA Hall of Fame

 

Losani HHHBA Hall of Fame
Fred (left) and Lino Losani (right) celebrate their HHHBA Hall of Fame induction with parents Giovanni and Maria Losani. Photo: HHHBA

Losani Homes’ CEO Fred Losani and President Lino Losani have been inducted to the Hamilton-Halton Home Builders Association (HHHBA) Hall of Fame, joining their Father Giovanni Losani, who was inducted in 2006. These awards recognize HHHBA members who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to the organization and to the home building industry.

Lino Losani

Lino Losani immigrated to Canada in 1960 with his parents, Giovanni and Maria and six-month-old sister Elena. The family settled in the north end of Hamilton, where Fred and Julie were born.  In 1972, Lino joined his father and together they navigated the waters of residential construction.  Losani Homes was established in 1976.

Lino’s two sons, John-Anthony and Justin, inherited their father’s work ethic and areactively involved in the business. John-Anthonycurrently holds an executive seat on the HHHBA Board of Directors while Justin, like his father, works in the field.  Lino’s youngest sister Julie Losani is responsible for new home closings where she also welcomes each new owner with the keys to their new home.

Fred Losani

Fred Losani became a company partner in 1985, and over the years has received on behalf of the company, many awards.  He served as HHHBA president in 1994, received HHHBA’s President’s Award of Meritand most recently, the Governor General of Canada’s Meritorious Service Medalfor Community Service.

In the 1980s, while Giovanni and Lino focused on residential homebuilding and Elena overseeing the company’s administration, Fred focused on land development and founded F. Losani Developments, a subsidiary of Losani Homes. The company rapidly grew to become one of southern Ontario’s largest builders and land developers.

With Giovanni’s retirement in 1998, Lino and Fred established Losani Homes Inc. – the homebuilding company that solidifies more than 40 years of homebuilding excellence, quality and craftsmanship.

Together, the company has received more than 120 sales, marketing and design awards, five Community of the Year awards, five humanitarian awards and three environmental awards, locally, nationally and internationally. Although homebuilding is their primary concentration, their desire to give back to the community is paramount. Through charitable events such as the annual Toy and Turkey Drive, the Losani Family Foundation has helped raise millions of dollars for local charities alongside its many partners and associates, many of whom have been associated with the company since inception.

In recent years, the Losani Family Foundation partnered with WE (formally Free the Children) to create tangible change both locally and abroad.  As well as becoming a major sponsor of the WE Global Learning Centre, the company has brought clean water, education, schools, and a sustainable income model to Western Kenya and India. While the village of Los Rios tucked away deep in the Amazon basin was the beneficiary of several BILDnew classrooms as well as a state-of-the-art medical facility, named after Maria and Giovanni Losani.

The charitable work of Losani Homes and the Losani Family Foundation has also received the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Golden Horseshoe Philanthropic Company of the Year, the Gold Award for Building Community Spiritfrom the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and BILD’s Stephen Dupuis Humanitarian of the Year.

The Losani family acknowledges its employee and trades workers, integral to the company’s success. Says Fred, “Our dad, even in his well-deserved retirement, still visits our various new-home sites with thermos’ of espresso and homemade treats made by our mom, to hand out to the team, because it is all about family.”

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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

RELATED READING

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

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

GTA condos lead resale price growth in 2018

 

 

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Industry Expert

Now is the time to start planning this year’s renovation

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Now is the time to start planning this year’s renovation

You meant to redo your kitchen and finish your basement last summer, but the warm days came and went and your renovation project remained only an idea. Not to worry, because now is the perfect time to start planning to make your renovation a reality this summer.

With a generous lead time, you can afford to be thorough with every step in the renovation process, increasing your chances of success. The first step is to articulate what goals you want to achieve with your renovation, and develop a clear description of what you want to change. Write down your priorities and items that would be nice to have if your budget allows. Make sure everyone in your home participates in the discussion so you have a complete picture of what is needed.

Photography: bigstock.com
Photography: bigstock.com

Research a reputable renovator

Next, find a professional renovator who will guide you through the process. The good ones get booked up months in advance. You will be putting a lot of trust in this person, so look for a renovator who is a member of BILD’s RenoMark program, which means that they have committed to the RenoMark code of conduct and BILD’s code of ethics. To find a RenoMark renovator, visit renomark.ca.

Price is an important consideration when choosing a renovator, but experience, construction schedule and references are just as crucial. Take the time to check three references to get a good understanding of how the company operates.

Plans & permits

Once you have selected your professional renovator, he or she may bring in a designer or architect, and together you will work through your project outline and create plans and specifications. These will help determine the budget estimate and any building permits and approvals you will need. In some municipalities, obtaining building permits and approvals can take many weeks and even months – another reason it’s good to start the process early.

When you are comfortable with the preliminary design, budget, and timetable, you’re ready to draw up a written contract with your renovator. The contract sets out the precise scope of the work, the price, a schedule of payments, a reasonable timetable for completing the work, product-specific details and a warranty clause. The contract should be reviewed by a lawyer.

Get it in writing

A RenoMark renovator will provide a contract for all projects. Avoid renovators who offer to work without a contract, even if they promise to skip the HST or offer another incentive. They may not be paying workers’ compensation or carry adequate insurance, leaving you at financial risk.

My final piece of advice is to spend some time on RenoMark.ca and read the articles in our Ask a Renovator series – they cover various aspects of renovation in more detail.

Renovating your home is exciting and rewarding. And as you can see, there’s plenty you can do now to prepare for this year’s renovation. By starting early, you will have your renovator team selected, contract signed, and permits and approvals in place by the time renovation season returns.

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, and bildgta.ca.


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